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Crude Oil Futures Pare Early Gains, End Notably Lower

Crude oil futures pared early gains and settled notably lower on Monday as worries about global growth following an escalation in U.S.-China trade tensions raised concerns about energy demand.

Earlier in the day, oil prices rose amid concerns the tanker attacks in the Middle East might result in disruption in crude supply.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for June ended down $0.62, or about 1%, at $61.04 a barrel, after rising to a high of $63.33 earlier in the session.

Brent crude oil futures dropped down by $0.42 to $70.20 a barrel by around mid afternoon.

On Friday, WTI crude futures for June ended lower by 4 cents at $61.66 a barrel, after rising to a high of $62.49 a barrel intraday.

Despite warning from U.S. President Donald Trump that the situation "will only get worse" if China retaliates to U.S. decision on tariff increase on Chinese goods, the Chinese government has decided to increase tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods.

China has announced that tariff hikes ranging from 5 to 25% on 5,140 U.S. products would take effect on June 1st.

Meanwhile, according to reports, China has invited U.S. officials to Beijing to continue talks this week.

Trump's economic advisor Larry Kudlow said Trump and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping are likely to meet during a G-20 meeting in June.

Oil prices rallied in early trades Monday amid heightened supply concerns after the UAE said on Sunday that four cargo vessels were subjected to "sabotage operations" off the coast of Fujairah, one of the world's largest bunkering hubs.

Reacting to reports of explosions in Fujairah, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said in a statement that the attack did not lead to any casualties or an oil spill but caused significant damage to the vessels' structures.

One of the two Saudi vessels attacked was on its way to be loaded with Saudi crude from Ras Tanura port for delivery to state-owned Saudi Aramco's customers in the United States.

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman called the incidents "worrisome and dreadful" and asked for an investigation into the matter.

Traders also continued to weigh the impact of U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela, and OPEC-led output cuts on global crude supply.

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