Investing.com – Oil prices pulled back slightly from 2019 highs on Thursday as a strong upward rally took a pause amid competing arguments for future price direction.
New York-traded lost 12 cents, or 0.2%, at $60.11 a barrel by 9:57 AM ET (13:57 GMT).
Meanwhile, , the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., traded down 22 cents, or 0.3%, to $68.28.
Thursday’s meager profit-taking comes with U.S. crude up more than 5% this month and more than 30% so far this year while the debate between bulls and bears rages on.
“There are two competing arguments for the future trajectory of oil prices,” energy analyst .
In the bullish case, production cuts from OPEC, and its allies led by Russia, coupled with U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela have supported oil prices by reducing global supply. In the U.S., government data showed that crude stockpiles registered their largest decline since July, providing further evidence of market tightening.
Adding to the case for higher oil prices, Wald said that U.S. President Donald Trump’s foreign policy was likely to seek to further eliminate sources of oil, outweighing the impact of escalating production stateside. EIA data this week showed that U.S. output returned to a record high of 12.1 million barrels per day.
But Wald indicated that the bearish argument pointed to weak economic data in Europe and China. Although American economic data indicates solid demand, European and Chinese data tell a different story, she said.
“If the U.S. and China do not come to a trade agreement soon, China’s economy could further sputter,” Wald warned.
China confirmed Thursday that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will travel to Beijing on March 28-29 for , while China’s Vice Premier Liu He will then travel to Washington in early April.
However, Trump warned on Wednesday that he will keep tariffs on China in place until he is sure that Beijing is complying with the terms of any trade agreement.
In other energy trading, slipped 0.1% to $1.9155 a gallon by 9:59 AM ET (13:59 GMT), while lost 0.6% to $1.9969 a gallon.
Lastly, traded down 0.6% to $2.803 per million British thermal units.
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