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June 19, 2019

Oil prices inch down as US crude stock data counters hopes on trade deal

Oil prices have inched down as US crude stock data countered support from hopes for a trade agreement between the US and China.

Oil prices have inched down as US crude stock data countered support from hopes for a trade agreement between the US and China.

Brent crude futures declined 46 cents at $61.68 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude fell 3 cents to $53.87 a barrel, Reuters reported.

The American Petroleum Institute said that crude stocks in the US edged down by 812,000 barrels last week to 482 million after reporting a rise in the past weeks. This is against analysts’ expectations of a smaller fall than the 1.1 million barrel slip.

Investors are awaiting estimates on US crude stock from the US Energy Information Administration. Statements made by US President Donald Trump that preparations were starting for him to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping next week at the G20 summit in Japan offered some support to oil prices.

In May, talks between the US and China broke down after Washington blamed that China backed away from commitments that were earlier agreed. Adding support to oil prices were statements from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi that it would again ease policy if inflation failed to accelerate.

Elsewhere, Middle East tensions after last week’s attacks on two oil tankers remain high. Members of the oil cartel Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are set to meet on 1 July followed by a meeting with non-OPEC allies on 2 July.

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At the meeting, OPEC and its members will discuss with regard to the extension of an agreement on reducing 1.2 million barrels per day of production that runs out in June.

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