Crude oil prices were down more than 5% for the week ending May 24 on Friday, as the trade deadlock between U.S. and China continues to threaten global economic growth and oil demand, while surging U.S. crude inventories add to oversupply.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $68.56 per barrel at 1100 GMT on Friday for a 5.4% weekly decline after it started Monday at $72.50 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was at $58.58 a barrel at the same time, marking a 6.9% decrease, after opening the week at $62.93 per barrel.
Brent crude fell 1.6% and WTI lost 2.5% on Wednesday, as the U.S.' Energy Information Administration (EIA) data revealed that commercial crude oil inventories in the country increased by 4.7 million barrels against the market expectation of a decline of 600,000 million barrels.
The decline in crude prices on Thursday intensified when U.S. trade talks hit a wall. Brent plummeted 4.5% and fell to as much as $67.02 per barrel to mark its lowest level since March 28. WTI slumped by around 5.7% to $57.34 a barrel -- its lowest level since March 13.
The world's two largest economies increased the rate of tariffs reciprocally, while the 11th round of trade talks between Washington and Beijing ended without a resolution last week.
After the U.S. increased the rate of tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25% from 10% on May 10, China said on June 1 that it would raise tariffs in retaliation to between 20% and 25% on $60 billion of American goods from the previous 5% to 10% rate.
The Chinese government added that trade negotiations would only continue if Washington gives up its "wrong" practices.
"If the U.S. would like to keep on negotiating it should, with sincerity, adjust its wrong actions. Only then can talks continue," Gao Feng, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, was quoted as saying by CNBC on Thursday.
The trade standoff between the U.S. and China continues to worry investors of weak global economic growth this year, potentially impacting oil demand negatively around the world to push crude prices lower.
To avoid price declines, OPEC and its allies, including Russia, agreed on Dec. 7 to lower their total oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day for the first six months of 2019.
OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia signaled that it could extend the supply cut agreement into the second half of this year to support oil prices.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on May 19 that the cartel and its allies have agreed to decrease crude oil inventories "gently" in the second half of this year, while keeping an eye on global oil supply.
By Ovunc Kutlu