Oil Prices Gain As Market Awaits Signals On US-China Trade Talks

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An oil well is pictured at sunrise in the Bakken oil fields near Sidney, Montana in this November 2014 handout photo. REUTERS/Smithsonian Channel/Handout via Reuters

Oil prices rose on Tuesday, reversing early losses on hopes that U.S. President Donald Trump may signal progress on trade talks with China in a speech later in the day.

Brent crude futures were up 31 cents, or 0.5 per cent, at 62.49 dollars a barrel by 0644 GMT, after dipping to as low as 61.90 dollars earlier in the day.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up 23 cents, or 0.4 per cent, at 57.09 dollars a barrel, having fallen to 56.55 dollars.

Worries about the impact on oil demand from the fallout of the 16-month U.S.-China trade war, which has weighed on global economic growth, sent prices lower on Monday.

Trump said on Saturday that talks with China were moving along “very nicely” but the United States would only make a deal if it was the right one for Washington.

He also there had been incorrect reporting about U.S. willingness to lift tariffs.

Trump speaks to the Economic Club of New York later on Tuesday, and markets will be keen for any update on the talks.

“Positive commentary about a possible U.S. and China interim trade deal certainly helps, but the fundamentals are supportive,” said Virendra Chauhan, Oil Analyst at Energy Aspects in Singapore, pointing to an improved demand outlook.

“Six million barrels per day of refining capacity is due to return from turnarounds across November and December,” he said.

On the supply side, Goldman Sachs also cut its 2020 forecast for growth in U.S. oil production, which has surged in recent years.

The investment bank cut its growth forecast for next year by 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 600,000 bpd over 2019.

“We expect U.S. oil growth to decelerate into 2020 as many companies look to balance growth with capex,” Goldman Sachs said.

Elsewhere, U.S. data showed that crude inventories at Cushing, the delivery point for WTI, fell about 1.2 million barrels in the week to Nov. 8, traders said, citing market intelligence firm Genscape.

Cushing inventories had grown for five weeks in a row through Nov. 1, according to government data.

Demand growth may pick up in 2020 after a year of dashed expectations amid the U.S.-China trade war, Fitch Solutions Macro Research analysts said in a new report.

“Our data show that 2019 will mark the nadir of oil demand growth over the next five years,” Fitch Solutions said.

“We forecast demand to (grow) by around 0.5 per cent this year, rising to 0.8 per cent in 2020,” the report said, although it added that “trade and political risks remain extremely elevated.” (Reuters/NAN)

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