Crude oil prices were down at trade opening on Thursday as U.S. President Donald Trump signed a new bill into law that strained the already fragile relations with China.
Trump signed two bills into law on Wednesday in support of protestors in Hong Kong against Beijing.
The first bill, Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, would require the U.S. State Department to provide certification for Hong Kong every year to be recognized as an autonomous entity for U.S. trade purposes to help its economy.
The second bill prohibits the sale of munitions, such as tear gas and rubber bullets, to Hong Kong police.
After Trump signed the bills into law, Beijing said Washington has a 'sinister intention and hegemonic nature,' according to a statement from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs early Thursday, stressing that Hong Kong is a semi-autonomous territory that operates under a 'one country, two systems' policy.
Trump's move further strained the already fractured relations between the U.S. and China at a time when the trade war between the world's two largest economies approaches its 20th month with no resolution in sight. This in turn continues to have a negative impact on the outlook for global economic growth, overall oil demand and crude prices.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $62.80 per barrel at 0710 GMT on Thursday for a 0.44% decline after it closed Wednesday at $63.08 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was trading at $57.87 a barrel at the same time for a 0.19% loss after ending the previous session at $57.98 per barrel.
By Ovunc Kutlu