Oil prices tread water as market eyes global risks

Oil prices tread water as market eyes global risks

Crude prices were little changed on Monday as traders weighed geopolitical risks against the effects of the Sino-U.S. trade war on the global economy, although last week’s better-than-expected U.S. jobs data offered some support.

“A very cautious open this morning supported by a better than expected (non-farm payrolls),” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at Vanguard Markets in Bangkok. “Traders remain incredibly cautious about the dimmer global economic overhang.”

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was up 6 cents at $57.57 a barrel. Brent crude futures were down 3 cents by 0300 GMT at $64.20. U.S.

Both oil benchmarks fell last week as concerns about a slowing global economy outweighed risks to supply. Brent fell more than 3%, and WTI shed more than 1.5%.

Employers added 224,000 jobs last month, the most in five months, the report showed.

U.S. job growth rebounded strongly in June, with government payrolls surging, the Labor Department’s closely watched employment report showed on Friday, suggesting May’s sharp slowdown in hiring was probably a one-off.

The lack of concrete progress in resolving the trade war between the U. S. and China means the bar could be very high for the U.S. Federal Reserve not to lower borrowing costs at its July 30-31 policy meeting.

Oil received some support from simmering tensions over Iran and after an extension last week to output cuts by OPEC and its allies.

U.S. energy companies this week reduced the number of oil rigs operating for the first time in three weeks as drillers follow through on plans to cut spending this year.