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Oil prices rose and fell unevenly on Tuesday, as tensions in the Gulf did not seem to be a military showdown, and both sides of the U.S. -China trade negotiations signalled reconciliation, suggesting a possible collapse.
Brent crude oil futures at 0755 GMT were trading at $70.40 a barrel, up 38 cents or 0.24%. Brent crude oil fell 0.6%. West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil (WTI) crude oil futures fell 12 cents or 0.2% to $60.92 a barrel. WTI closed down 1% on Monday.
Negotiations between the United States and China seem to have been successful last week, but to a large extent explain what the United States accuses Beijing of seeking huge, last-minute changes.
China ignored U.S. President Donald Trump's warning Monday and instead imposed higher tariffs on a range of U.S. goods, including frozen vegetables and liquefied natural gas.
But Wang Yi, a senior diplomat and State Councilor of the Chinese government, said Monday that Beijing hoped to reach a compromise: "Both negotiating teams have the ability and wisdom to address each other's legitimate demands."
Trump said Monday that he expected to address Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit at the end of June and "hold a very productive meeting".
Vandana Hari, an analyst at Vanda Insights, said: "Market participants are increasingly forced to make their own guesses and read between sectors to cope with the latest wave of volatility in financial markets." Despite last week's major setbacks in trade talks, US presidents'comments may tend to support the optimist balance, which continues to anticipate reconciliation.
Oil prices rose more than $1 a barrel on Monday, but then Wall Street fell as investors were scared by the negative turn in the U.S. -China negotiations.
In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia said that two of the tankers were one of those attacked Sunday off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, saying it was destroying global oil supplies.
An American official said Iran could be the culprit.
Tehran is embroiled in an escalating war of words with the United States over tougher U.S. sanctions that cut oil exports and tighten global supply. Iranian officials denied responsibility for the incident.
One fifth of global oil consumption flows from Middle East crude oil producers to global markets through the Strait of Hormuz.