Oil prices hovered just below 2019 highs as traders are awaiting the outcome of trade talks between the US and China to resolve their trade war.

International Brent crude oil futures were at $66.52 a barrel, five cents above their last close, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures increased by 44 cents at $56.03 a barrel, Reuters reported.

Global oil markets remain tight due to supply cuts led by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), offering support to oil prices.

Traders are cautious about taking large new positions prior to the outcome of the US-Sino trade talks in Washington.

“Addressing global trade tensions is key for improving the economic outlook.”

Last week, a round of trade talks between the two countries concluded in Beijing without any agreement.

The White House said in a statement that the talks are aimed at ‘achieving needed structural changes in China that affect trade between the US and China. The two sides will also discuss China’s pledge to purchase a substantial amount of goods and services from the US’.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch was quoted by the news agency as saying that the trade war was damaging global economic growth.

“Addressing global trade tensions is key for improving the economic outlook,” the bank said.

Data intelligence firm Kpler said that Saudi seaborne crude exports declined during the first half of this month and departures stood at 6.204 million barrels per day (Mbpd).

Sanctions imposed by the US against Iran and Venezuela also offered some support to oil prices.