Energy

Oil pares gains on US-China trade doubts

Deck hands on a natural gas drilling rig on June 6, 2007, outside of Artesia, in eastern New Mexico.
Robert Nickelsberg | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Oil prices steadied after rising about 1% on Tuesday following a speech from U.S. President Donald Trump that offered few new details about Washington's trade talks with Beijing.

Concerns about slower economic growth and oil demand due to the fallout from the 16-month trade dispute between the world's two biggest economies pressured oil.

Brent crude futures, the global benchmark, fell 8 cents to settle at $62.10 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude shed 8 cents to settle at $56.80 a barrel.

Prices eased from earlier gains after Trump's remarks to a lunch gathering of The Economic Club of New York included mixed messages about U.S.-China trade talks and excluded specifics about any progress in negotiations.

The U.S. president said on Saturday that talks with China were moving along "very nicely" but the United States would make a deal only if it was the right one. He said there had been incorrect reporting about U.S. willingness to lift tariffs.

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

Inventories at the hub were expected to draw down after a more than 9,000-barrel leak forced the 590,000-barrel-per-day Keystone crude pipeline to be shut in late October. The line has since been restarted at reduced pressure.

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

However, crude stockpiles nationwide were forecast to have risen last week for a third week in a row, a preliminary poll ahead of government data due on Thursday showed. Weekly energy data has been delayed a day due to the Veterans Holiday on Monday.

Brent has risen 16% in 2019, supported by a supply-limiting pact by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia. The producers meet on Dec. 5-6 to decide whether to extend the deal.

Oman, one of the outside producers working with OPEC, said on Monday that the alliance would probably extend the agreement but was unlikely to increase the size of the supply cut.

In a further supportive supply-side development, Goldman Sachs cut its 2020 forecast for growth in U.S. oil production, which has surged in recent years and helped keep a lid on prices.

"The market is stuck between a perception of 2020 oversupply and strengthening physical markets for oil globally," said Scott Shelton, a broker at ICAP in Durham.