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Oil falls amid new round of tariffs in US-China trade war

[TOKYO] Oil prices fell on Monday after new tariffs imposed by the United States and China came into force, raising concerns about a further hit to global growth and demand for crude.

Brent crude was down 42 cents, or 0.7 per cent, at US$58.83 a barrel by 0041 GMT, while US oil was down 27 cents, or 0.5 per cent, at US$54.83 at barrel.

The United States began imposing 15 per cent tariffs on a variety of Chinese goods on Sunday - including footwear, smart watches and flat-panel televisions - as China put new duties on US crude, the latest escalation in a bruising trade war.

US President Donald Trump said the sides would still meet for talks later this month.

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Mr Trump, writing on Twitter, said his goal was to reduce US reliance on China and he again urged American companies to find alternate suppliers outside China.

Beijing's levy of 5 per cent on US crude marks the first time the fuel had been targeted since the world's two largest economies started their trade war more than a year ago.

"The trade and tariff overhang is inescapable for oil markets, so while trade uncertainties persist, it will be difficult for oil to shrug off concerns about the threat to global demand," said Stephen Innes, APAC market strategist at AxiTrader.

Elswehere, Opec oil output rose in August for the first month this year as higher supply from Iraq and Nigeria outweighed restraint by top exporter Saudi Arabia and losses caused by US sanctions on Iran, a Reuters survey found.

South Korea's exports tumbled in August for a ninth consecutive month, on sluggish demand from its biggest buyer, China, and depressed prices of computer chips globally, government data showed on Sunday.

The bleak data clouded the outlook for Asia's fourth-largest economy as a brewing trade dispute with Japan emerged as a new risk on top of the prolonged US-China trade war.

REUTERS