November 4, 2019 / 2:07 AM / 12 days ago

Oil gains 1% as China pushes Trump for more tariff rollbacks

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices rose more than 1% on Tuesday on hopes for a U.S.-China trade agreement and optimism that Washington could roll back some tariffs on Chinese imports.

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

Brent crude LCOc1 futures rose 83 cents, or 1.3%, to settle at $62.96 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures ended 69 cents, or 1.2%, higher at $57.23 a barrel.

China is pushing U.S. President Donald Trump to remove more tariffs imposed in September as part of a so-called Phase 1 deal, which would ease the economic impact of the trade dispute between the world’s two biggest oil consumers.

“While such a development could accommodate a signing of a Phase 1 deal that would allow for a further increase in risk acceptance and hence, bullish spillover from the equities and into the oil complex, a major long term agreement still appears elusive well into next year,” Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates in Galena, Illinois, said in a report.

OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said the oil market outlook for 2020 may be brighter than previously forecast, appearing to downplay any need for deeper production cuts.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies led by Russia meet in December. The so-called OPEC+ alliance has since January cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day.

Iran’s oil minister on Monday said he expects further production cuts to be agreed in December.

OPEC also said it would supply a diminishing amount of oil in the next five years as output increases from U.S. shale deposits and elsewhere.

OPEC’s production of crude oil and other liquids is expected to decline to 32.8 million bpd by 2024, the group said in its 2019 World Oil Outlook.

Meanwhile, Asia’s oil demand growth is expected to more than double to 815,000 bpd in 2020, the head of energy consulting firm FGE said on.

In the United States, crude inventories rose 4.3 million barrels last week to 440.5 million, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed late Tuesday, nearly triple analysts’ forecasts for a 1.5 million-barrel build.

Official U.S. government data is due to be released on Wednesday.

Oil also drew support from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest rate cut last week, weakness in the dollar and improved U.S. jobs growth in October, analysts said.

“We believe that the strength in oil prices will be short-lived, given the scale of the surplus that is expected over the 1H20,” ING analyst Warren Patterson said, referring to the first half of 2020.

“The risk to this view is if OPEC+ surprises the market in December by announcing even deeper than expected cuts for 2020.”

Additional reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London and Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo; Editing by Marguerita Choy and David Gregorio

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