Oil prices settled slightly lower on Wednesday, as a surprise draw in us crude stockpiles triggered a rebound from session lows hit after China proposed a broad range of tariffs on USA exports that fed fears of a trade war.
Brent hit a session low of $66.69 and USA crude slumped as low as $62.06.
Looking at USA crude oil stocks, the most recent EIA figures (March 28) showed rising crude oil stocks and falling refined product inventories.
"It would be negative for pricing", he added.
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United States storage dropped by 4.62 million barrels to 425.3 million barrels last week, while outbound shipments of crude expanded to a record, according to an Energy Information Administration report Wednesday.
US crude inventories likely saw a buildup for the second straight week, rising 200,000 barrels in the week ended March 30, a Reuters poll of industry analysts showed on Tuesday. In early 2014, prior to crude oil's significant sell-off, the total number of active oil rigs peaked above 1,600. Refinery utilization rates rose by 0.7 percentage point. In addition, the pressure on trade is also exerting tension on the trade dispute between the U.S. and China.
The appointment of a new US Secretary of State is also not expected to lend much support to oil prices.
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The Energy Information Administration said gasoline inventories had also fallen by 1.1 million barrels to 238.5 million barrels, while distillates gained 500,000 barrels at 129.5 million barrels.
"Yet, a 3.666 million barrel build at the Cushing, OK storage hub provided enough weight for a negative settlement".
In other news, fears regarding Iranian supply is also helping crude oil prices.
"The impact on oil flows if China was to hit US crude oil exports would be about the same as the expected impact on oil flows if the USA was to hit the Iranian nuclear deal", said Olivier Jakob, head of energy consultancy Petromatrix.
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Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia/Pacific at futures brokerage OANDA in Singapore, said oil markets remained nervous about "whether or not the USA administration will scrap or maintain the fragile nuclear deal with Iran".