Crude oil futures were marginally lower during mid-morning trade in Asia Friday as market participants were waiting on the sidelines for more clarity to emerge on the ongoing trade tensions between the US and China.
At 10:30 am in Singapore (0230 GMT), ICE Brent October futures were down 8 cents/b (0.13%) from Thursday's settle at $61.07/b, while the front-month NYMEX October light sweet crude futures were 16 cents/b (0.28%) lower at $56.55/b.
Oil prices on Thursday traded higher on the back of supportive data from the US, where stocks were down 10.3 million barrels for the week ended August 23, according to data released by the US Energy Information Administration. Signs of easing trade tensions between the US and China also proved positive.
A new round of US tariffs on some Chinese goods is scheduled to take effect on Sunday, September 1 and December 15 later this year.
According to media reports, US President Donald Trump on Thursday said that the US and China were meeting at a "different level" but failed to give more details on the same.
"Sentiment was boosted by reports of progress in the US-China trade talks," said ANZ analysts in a note Friday.
Media reports also said that China responded by saying that it would not retaliate against President Trump's most recent tariff announcement right away.
"While there is no immediate retaliation expected from China, this does not suggest an improvement in situation either. China's response, while a temporary relief for markets, continues to fall in line with the view that they may delay a deal until the 2020 US elections while at the same time through talks avoid further escalations that could be damaging to the health of the economy," said Pan Jingyi, IG market strategist.
"Altogether this could still make for prolonged trade uncertainty," she added.
While markets were waiting for more clarity on the US-China trade talks, UOB analysts in a note Friday said that: "There is still a small window for both countries to withdraw the 1 September tariffs and return to talks as we look for the confirmation of the dates for in-person meetings in Washington in September."
Elsewhere, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has told his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron that Europe needs to facilitate sales of Iranian oil for the 2015 nuclear deal to remain intact, a top diplomat said Thursday.
"What Mr. Rouhani told [French President Emmanuel] Macron was that if the Europeans want to keep the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, they should create possibility for our oil sales," said Abbas Araghchi, who was a leading negotiator of the nuclear deal for Iran, speaking on Iran's state television.
As of 0230 GMT, the US Dollar Index was down 0.01% at 98.395