Oil jumps 1 percent after surprise fall in US crude inventories

India's oil imports from Iran down 57% in April

Oil futures gained one per cent overnight, boosted by a surprise drawdown in US crude stockpiles but an escalating US-Chinese trade fight limited oil's gains as investors anxious about the global outlook for energy demand.

If the trade talks fail, investors fear that it could pave the way for a global economic slowdown, lowering oil demand around the world, while putting a downward pressure on oil prices.

Gold prices gained on Tuesday as stock markets weakened after a USA threat to hike tariffs on Chinese imports renewed trade tensions and improved demand for safe-haven bullion. Earlier in the session, they fell as low as $69.57 a barrel.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $61.56 per barrel at 0057 GMT on Wednesday, 17 cents, or 0.3 percent, above their last settlement. "European equities are further down this morning and this is a situation where gold is seen as a safe-haven", said Quantitative Commodity Research analyst Peter Fertig.

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Trade war tensions continued to simmer after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to impose additional tariffs on Chinese goods beginning on Friday, prompting Beijing to threaten retaliation. China's commerce ministry confirmed on Tuesday that Vice Premier Liu He will visit the United States from May 9-10 for bilateral trade talks at the invitation of senior U.S. officials.

Takahiko Yamamoto, a Fuji Oil director, told Reuters after the press conference that the refiner had already secured most of its supplies for June, mainly through the spot market.

The country is the world's biggest oil importer. That is an 11 percent rise from the same month a year ago. At the same time, it also said that US crude oil production is expected to average 12.45 million bpd this year, up from the current 12.3 million bpd, which is already a record. The US asked Iranian oil buyers to stop Iran oil imports by May 1st or face sanctions, ending six months of exemptions that allowed the top eight buyers of Iranian oil, mostly in Asia, to continue to import limited quantities. -China conflict could escalate overshadowed data showing an unexpected drop in US crude inventories.

Crude oil prices increased in April, but they are expected to decrease through 2019 and 2020, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Tuesday.

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