Oil started the week with a softer tone as global growth concerns continued to infect sentiment ahead of meetings this week between senior U.S. and Chinese officials on trade.
Futures were down 0.2 percent, after a near 5 percent drop last week as trade jitters resurfaced. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will visit Beijing ahead of a March 1 deadline set by the Trump administration to more then double tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods.
U.S. drilling-rig activity increased last week -- only the second time that’s happened in 2019.
WTI for March delivery dipped 14 cents to $52.58/barrel at 7:13am as of Singapore time on the New York Mercantile Exchange. March WTI rose 8 cents, or 0.2 percent, to close at $52.72 a barrel on Friday.
Brent for April settlement was off 8 cents at $62.02/barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Brent fell 15 cents to $61.95; it fell 1 percent last week.