Novak Says OPEC+ to Consider Easing Oil Output Caps in March

WTIUSD 1 Day ChartMore

WTIUSD 1 Day ChartMore

The roughly 17-month trade war hit global economic growth and demand for oil, leaving prices range-bound for most of the year.

China on Thursday announced a list of import tariff exemptions for six oil and chemical products from the United States, days after Washington and Beijing said an interim trade deal is set to be signed in January.

China and the United States cooled their 17-month trade war earlier this month, announcing a Phase 1 agreement that would reduce some US tariffs.

New York-traded West Texas Intermediate (WTI) - the United States crude benchmark - was up 44 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $61.55 per barrel. Prices are up more than 11% in December, on pace for the largest monthly gain in nearly a year.

Oil held above $60 a barrel before USA government data forecast to show that crude stockpiles declined again, mitigating concerns that global markets face a renewed surplus next year.

Global markets are mostly closed on Wednesday due to the Christmas holiday break.

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West Texas Intermediate crude is trading at $60.51, having travelled between a low of $60.51 and $60.62, down 0.15% on the day following a rise at the start of the week.

USA crude oil stockpiles likely declined last week, while inventories of gasoline were set to extend their build for the seventh straight week, an extended Reuters poll showed on Thursday.

"Oil prices continue to show year-end strength supported by a combination of definitive progress on the U.S". USA oil major Chevron Corp, which helps operate the fields, said full production was expected within 12 months. "China trade deal, the Dec OPEC/OPEC+ agreement, and slowing shale activity", said Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist at AxiTrader.

Brent for February settlement gained 42 cents to $66.81 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe Exchange, after rising 25 cents on Monday. The reduction of output could see as much as 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd) taken off the market, or about 2% of global demand. The contract closed 81 cents higher at $67.20 on Tuesday, increasing about 8% so far this month.

Even so, Brent has still rallied 25 percent in 2019, supported by supply cuts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russian Federation.

API's reported draw in American crude stockpiles last week would be the largest since August if confirmed by government data on Friday.

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