That double whammy is prompting Asian refiners to move swiftly, with South Korea leading the way. Although there is some general nervousness over the U.S.
More importantly, some respected observers refuse to join the popular chorus of Trump bashing and suggest the brash billionaire may be picking a fight with China at just the right time: Stephen Guilfoyle, a Wall Street trader and president of Sarge986, said the president's trade policies have China "by the short hairs".
-China trade dispute, most traders agree that yesterday's government report is exerting the most pressure on the market.
China has said it will retaliate, and major Chinese ports have already delayed clearing goods from the United States, according to several sources.
Brent crude futures were down 6c or 0.1% at $77.33 a barrel.
American crude shipments to China now stand around 400,000 barrels per day (bpd), worth $1 billion a month at current prices.
Oil prices seesawed today in a nervous market as the United States implemented a raft of tariffs on Chinese goods, which should prompt Beijing to retaliate, potentially including a duty on U.S. crude imports.
On Friday, the U.S. tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods were implemented.
As part of the retaliatory response, Beijing has threatened a 25 per cent tariff on U.S. crude imports, although it has not specified an introduction date.
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While another said: "Honestly no need for this" and another said: "Can't they just enjoy their success without wrecking the place?"
In an alarming sign for Washington, and a welcome development for Iran, some locals have decided not to see which way the dice may fall.
An executive from China's Dongming Petrochemical Group said he expected Beijing to soon impose the tariff on USA oil imports.
Oil prices inched up in early Asian trading on Monday, with many investors focused on any fallout from the USA imposition of tariffs on Chinese goods at the end of last week, which prompted immediate retaliation from China. "We will switch to either Middle East or West African supplies", he said.
JTD Energy's Driscoll said China may even replace American oil with crude from Iran.
Highlighting that issue, JTD Energy's Driscoll said USA oil sellers were "already discounting" their crude.
"Iran's exports are some 2.7-million barrels a day, including condensate", it noted. Together three three nations make up about 60 percent of the Persian Gulf state's exports.
While next steps remain unclear, the potential outcome for the U.S. isn't: should China fully pivot away from United States exports and replace them with Iranian product, the USA trade deficit will resume rising, further adding to the pressure of what is Trump's biggest economic hurdle: the double United States deficits.
Supply disruptions are giving some support, with an outage at a major Canadian oil sands facility cutting regional supply. However, if the ongoing pipeline bottleneck in the Permian is not resolved soon, said solace will prove to be short-lived.
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