Crude oil prices declined sharply on Friday as trade tensions between the U.S. and China escalated, raising concerns over outlook for energy demand.
After China's Commerce Ministry announced additional tariffs on about $75 billion dollar worth of U.S. goods and said it will hike tariffs on more products, the U.S. President Donald Trump responded with a strong message via Twitter.
West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for October ended down $1.18, or about 2.1%, at $54.17 a barrel. Crude oil futures dropped to a low of $53.26 a barrel before edging up a bit and recouping some of their losses.
Crude oil futures shed 1.2% in the week.
Brent crude futures were down $1.30, or about 2.2%, at $58.52 around mid afternoon.
Trump remarked that the U.S. does not need China and would be "far better off without them" and subsequently ordered American companies to "immediately start looking for an alternative to China."
"The vast amounts of money made and stolen by China from the United States, year after year, for decades, will and must STOP," Trump tweeted and also indicated that he would respond to the newly announced Chinese tariffs on U.S. imports later in the day.
Meanwhile, data released by Baker Hughes said that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil declined by 16 to 754 this week. Earlier in April, the Baker Hughes reported a weekly drop of 20 oil bags.