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Oil prices mixed as G20 warns of risks to growth

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[TOKYO] Oil prices were mixed on Monday as finance ministers and central bank governors from the G20 warned that risks to global growth have increased with rising trade and geopolitical tensions among other vulnerabilities.

Brent crude was up 2 cents at US$73.09 a barrel by 0037 GMT, having ended up 49 US cents on Friday. US West Texas Intermediate was down 8 cents at US$68.18 a barrel, after finishing up 2 US cents on Friday.

G20 finance ministers and central bank governors ended a meeting in Buenos Aires over the weekend calling for more dialogue to prevent trade and geopolitical tensions from hurting growth.

"Global economic growth remains robust and unemployment is at a decade low," the finance leaders said in a statement. "However, growth has been less synchronised recently, and downside risks over the short and medium term have increased."

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The talks come amid escalating rhetoric in the trade conflict between the United States and China, the world's largest economies, which have so far slapped tariffs on US$34 billion worth of each other's goods.

US President Donald Trump raised the stakes on Friday with a threat to impose tariffs on all US$500 billion of Chinese exports to the United States unless Beijing agrees to major structural changes to its technology transfer, industrial subsidy and joint venture policies.

US energy companies last week cut the number of oil rigs by the most in a week since March as the rate of growth has slowed over the past month or so with recent declines in crude prices.

Drillers cut five oil rigs in the week to July 20, bringing the total count down to 858, General Electric Co's Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday.

The US rig count, an early indicator of future output, is higher than a year ago when 764 rigs were active as energy companies have been ramping up production in anticipation of higher prices in 2018 than previous years.

REUTERS