Oil sold-off on tariff fears but rallied back as Saudi Arabia is signaling that they are just crazy about production cuts and want an extension. Its tariff fears versus ring demand and falling supply for oil and it seems that supply and demand have the edge right now.

Oil prices yesterday followed stocks lower, grudgingly after President Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum that could impose tariffs on up to $60 billion of imports from China. China responded, warning that if the U.S. follows through with that threat they could respond by putting tariffs on as many as 128 U.S. products. It was reported that the tariffs could hit things like pork, nuts, steel pipes and even, God forbid, wine! Now it is getting serious. Or is it?

The past steel market tariff sell-off was way overdone because when it comes to the art of the deal, President Trump’s bark is worse than his bite. The steel tariffs that tanked the market earlier has more exemptions and are squishier than a sponge have been suspended until May 1, for most countries. Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the European Union countries, and South Korea were put on hold because the countries’ “important security relationships” with the U.S. warranted further discussion.                       

The order that was signed yesterday included a 30-day business comment period which will allow for negotiations with the Chinese, that have clearly put higher tariffs on U.S. goods and forced U.S. companies to share trade secrets and have outright stolen intellectual property. If President Trump’s pressure allows for a better deal with China, it will be viewed as a great success. If it results in a trade war than it will be a major failure. Still, as it stands these tariffs that are in play are very small when viewed as part of the overall economy.

Which means that despite this mess, daily oil demand will exceed daily production. Despite rising U.S. production global demand and OPEC cuts have put the globe into a supply deficit. Now it appears that OPEC is going to extend those cuts and the market is taking them seriously as they should. OPEC compliance to the current cuts exceeded 138% which was their best compliance to a deal, ever. Now according to Reuters, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih, who said on Thursday that OPEC members will need to continue coordinating with Russia and other non-OPEC oil-producing countries on supply curbs in 2019 to reduce global oil inventories. The deal many thought was doomed to failure because of shale oil production pressures looks stronger than ever.

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