Oil prices fall after Trump threatens China tariff hikes

Oil prices tumbled on Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday said he would sharply hike tariffs on Chinese goods this week, risking the derailment of trade talks between the world’s two biggest economies, Reuters reports.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $60.51 per barrel at 0526 GMT on Monday, down $1.43 per barrel, or 2.3 percent, from their last settlement. 

Brent crude oil futures fell below $70 per barrel, trading at $69.33 per barrel, down $1.52 per barrel, or 2.2%, from their last close. 

Trump said on Twitter on Sunday that he would drastically hike U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods this week, pulling down global financial markets, including crude oil futures. 

“Trump has taken the proverbial sledgehammer to the walnut this morning ... by threatening to slap a 25 percent tariff on a mind-boggling $525 billion of Chinese goods by this Friday,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at futures brokerage OANDA in Singapore. 

Trump’s move triggered reports that China may cancel trade talks scheduled with Washington, but the South China Morning Post later reported that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He would still travel to the United States this week, although his trip would be shortened.

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