Crude oil prices increased slightly on Monday as U.S. President Donald Trump raised tariffs on China in retaliation for China's decision to apply tariffs on U.S. car imports, escalating worries over global oil demand and the negative economic impact.
The international benchmark Brent crude traded at $58.80 per barrel on Monday at 0641 GMT, while American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $53.59 at the same time.
China said it would put in place a 25% tariff on U.S. cars along with a 5% tariff on auto parts and components, effective from Dec.15.
In retaliation, Trump said the U.S. would raise tariffs from 25% to 30% on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, starting Oct. 1. This is in addition to the tax increase to be applied to $300 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10% to 15% from Sept. 1.
On Friday, Brent crude fell to as low as $58.30 per barrel and closed the day with a 1.32% decline at $59.13 a barrel. WTI was also down as much as $53.26 a barrel during trading hours to finish the day at $53.95 per barrel for a 2.53% loss.
The number of oil rigs in the U.S. - an indicator of future crude oil production - dropped to its lowest level since April, according to data released by oilfield services company Baker Hughes on Friday.
The oil rig count fell by 16 for the week ending Aug. 23 to reach 754 from 770 the week before. This decline marked the largest weekly drop in the U.S. since week ending April 26.
By Gulsen Cagatay