U.S. oil prices rise above $50 on trade talk hopes

FAN Editor
Pumpjacks are seen against the setting sun at the Daqing oil field in Heilongjiang
Pumpjacks are seen against the setting sun at the Daqing oil field in Heilongjiang province, China December 7, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

January 9, 2019

By Henning Gloystein

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – U.S. crude oil prices on Wednesday rose above $50 per barrel for the first time in 2019 on hopes that Washington and Beijing can resolve a trade dispute that has triggered a global economic slowdown.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures <CLc1> were at $50.14 per barrel as at 0021, up 36 cents, or 0.7 percent from their last settlement.

International Brent crude futures <LCOc1> had yet to trade.

“The mood was … boosted by signs of further progress in trade talks between the U.S. and China,” ANZ bank said on Wednesday.

The world’s two biggest economies will continue trade talks in Beijing for an unscheduled third day on Wednesday, U.S. officials said, amid signs of progress on issues including purchases of U.S. farm and energy commodities and increased U.S. access to China’s markets.

State newspaper China Daily said on Wednesday that Beijing is keen to put an end to its trade dispute with the United States, but that it will not make any “unreasonable concessions” and that any agreement must involve compromise on both sides.

If no deal is reached by March 2, Trump has said he will proceed with raising tariffs to 25 percent from 10 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports at a time when China’s economy is slowing significantly.

Oil prices have also been receiving support from supply cuts started at the end of 2018 by a group of producers around the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as well as non-OPEC member Russia.

“Crude oil prices continued to march higher, with investors becoming increasingly confident that the OPEC cuts would tighten the market,” ANZ said.

(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; editing by Richard Pullin)

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