Oil prices have remained steady as data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that fuel stock rose in the US less than expected and sanctions imposed on Venezuelan oil firms boost investor confidence.

Brent crude oil futures rose 14 cents at $61.79 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures declined nine cents at $54.14 a barrel, Reuters reported.

Data released by the EIA highlighted a lower-than-expected increase in US fuel stock last week due to reduced imports.

Sanctions imposed by the US on Venezuelan oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) this week also led to supply disruptions.

“Any gain in oil prices still remains contingent on the outcome of US-China trade talks.”

Venezuelan oil ports and terminals are loaded with oil inventories as the company believes it cannot export crude due to the sanctions.

Shipping data revealed that as of 30 January, Venezuela had 25 tankers with nearly 18Mbbl of crude waiting to load or expecting authorisation to set sail.

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BNP Paribas strategist Harry Tchilinguirian told the Reuters Global Oil Forum: “With the likelihood of a forthcoming decline in Venezuelan production, producer cuts to rebalance the market will prove more effective.

“Having said that, any gain in oil prices still remains contingent on the outcome of US-China trade talks.”

Investors are awaiting the outcome of discussions that started in Washington to ease a trade dispute between the US and China.

If the two countries fail to reach an agreement soon, Washington has threatened to more than double tariffs on Chinese goods on 2 March.