Crude oil prices were down early Monday as U.S. President Donald Trump debunked reports that his country would roll back tariffs against China, reviving investors' fears that the 19-month trade war would continue.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $61.84 per barrel at 0638 GMT for a 1.07% decline after closing Friday at $62.51 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was at $56.63 a barrel at the same time for a 1.06% loss after ending Friday at $57.24 per barrel.
Trump said Sunday that trade talks with China had been proceeding "very nicely." Nonetheless, he disputed news reports last week that the lifting of U.S and China's tariffs on one another as part of a phase-one trade deal was going ahead, describing it as "incorrect."
"There was a lot of incorrect reporting, but you will see what I’m going to be doing," Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews airbase in the U.S. state of Maryland.
While Trump also said Saturday that, "the level of tariff lift is incorrect," he told reporters Friday "I haven’t agreed to anything," and did not elaborate much on the possibility of a tariff roll back.
Chinese Commerce Ministry Spokesperson Gao Feng said Thursday that the two countries agreed to roll back tariffs simultaneously and proportionally prior to signing phase one of their bilateral trade deal.
Yet investor uncertainties have emerged over the non-resolution of the 19-month trade war between the world's two largest economies and oil consumers from the lack of details, especially on key topics such as technology transfer and intellectual property rights, posing risks for the global economy and oil demand.
So far, Washington has imposed tariffs on $550 billion worth of Chinese imports, and Beijing has reciprocated by implementing tariffs on $185 billion worth of imports from the U.S.
By Ovunc Kutlu