Oil steadies after gains driven by trade optimism


TOKYO (Reuters) – Oil prices steadied on Tuesday as investors kept an eye on U.S. inventory data due later, following two days of gains on positive economic data and hopes for a Washington-Beijing trade deal.

FILE PHOTO: The sun sets behind an oil pump outside Saint-Fiacre, near Paris, France September 17, 2019. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Brent crude futures LCOc1 were up 4 cents at $62.17 a barrel at 0330 GMT after gaining 0.7% in the previous session.

U.S. crude futures CLc1 were down 1 cent at $56.53 a barrel. They gained 0.6% on Monday.

“This is mostly position lightening after an impressive run higher,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

“Oil is vulnerable now to any sharp change in short-term investor sentiment,” he said.

U.S. crude oil inventories were forecast to have risen last week, while refined products stocks likely declined, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.

Five analysts polled by Reuters estimated, on average, that crude inventories rose around 2.7 million barrels in the week to Nov. 1.

Oil has been supported by hopes for a trade deal that could boost demand. Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump have been in continuous touch through “various means,” China said on Monday, when asked when and where the two leaders might meet to sign a trade deal.

Improved U.S. jobs growth numbers in October and upward revisions of the two previous months are also helping oil prices, analysts said.

Oil investors are closely watching the initial public offering of Saudi Arabia’s state oil company, Saudi Aramco, in what is expected to be the world’s biggest listing as the kingdom seeks to cash in on peaking demand for oil.

Aramco’s chairman Yasser al-Rumayyan said on Sunday the state oil giant would continue to meet its global oil supply demand after it lists on the Riyadh bourse.

On the supply side, Russia cut its oil output C-RU-OUT to 11.23 million barrels per day (bpd) last month from 11.25 million bpd in September, but again missed its obligations under a pact to curb production.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and other producers – a group known as OPEC+ – have since January implemented a deal to cut oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day.

OPEC output rose in October from an eight-year low as a rapid recovery in Saudi Arabian production from attacks on oil plants more than offset losses in Ecuador and voluntary curbs under a supply pact, a Reuters survey found last week.

Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; editing by Richard Pullin

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