March 20, 2019 / 1:29 AM / 3 months ago

Oil beats retreat from 4-month high on fears for U.S.-China trade progress

SYDNEY, March 20 (Reuters) - Oil prices fell on Wednesday, retreating from a four-month high, as concerns that trade talks between the United States and China have stalled, stoking fears over the outlook for global economic growth.

International Brent crude oil futures were at $67.49 a barrel at 0107 GMT, down 15 cents, or 0.2 percent, from their last close. Brent touched $68.20 a barrel on Tuesday, its highest since Nov. 16.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $58.86 per barrel, down 17 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their last settlement. WTI hit a high of $59.57 a barrel on Tuesday, the highest since Nov. 12.

“The dispute between the two largest economies has been the biggest factor impacting global growth,” said Alfonso Esparza, senior market analyst at brokerage OANDA.

Bloomberg reported U.S. officials were concerned Beijing was pushing back against Washington’s demands during trade talks, lowering hopes for a resolution to the tariff war that has threatened global oil demand.

Still, the drops in oil prices were checked by continued production cuts by major exporters, tightening supply.

Crude stocks fell by 2.1 million barrels in the week to March 15, to 446.8 million, compared with analysts’ expectations for an increase of 309,000 barrels, the data showed.

Later on Wednesday, market attention is set to shift away from global macroeconomic matter to official figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on U.S. crude stockpiles.

Reporting by Colin Packham Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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