Oil prices fell by 2 percent on Thursday after US crude production neared an unprecedented 12 million barrels per day (bpd) and concern grew over weakening demand, particularly in light of the trade dispute between the United States and China. Brent crude oil futures were down $1.08 at $60.24 a barrel by 1310 GMT, while US crude futures fell by the same amount to $51.23. The price of oil remains about 20 percent up on the 18-month low registered in late December, but investors appear loath to push crude much higher without evidence that relations between Washington and Beijing are improving, analysts said.“Brent needs to move past $62 before we can talk about $65,” BNP Paribas head of commodities Harry Tchilingurian told the Reuters Global Oil Forum. “From there, the door will be open to target $70, (if) we do not have negative news emerging around US-China trade talks that caused high levels of angst and de-risking last December.” Soaring US crude output, which neared a record 12 million bpd in early January, is fuelling some of the concern among traders and investors that growth in global supply this year will outpace demand. In response to the drop in price in the second half of last year, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-members such as Russia and Oman will cut production by a joint 1.2 million bpd this year.Published in Daily Times, January 18th 2019.