Oil prices have increased slightly on expectations that discussions between the US and Chinese officials might put an end to a trade war between the two countries.

International Brent crude futures gained 55 cents to trade at $57.88 per barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures also edged up 55 cents, to $49.07 per barrel, Reuters reported.

Supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) also tightened markets.

Imposing heavy tariffs on each other’s goods last year, the US and China have been holding the first day of talks in Beijing to resolve their trade dispute.

“These trade tensions are expected to have an impact on the global economy.”

These trade tensions are expected to have an impact on the global economy.

Investors are also worried that a worldwide economic slowdown will dent consumption of fuel.

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The news agency quoted US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross as saying: “I think there’s a very good chance that we will get a reasonable settlement that China can live with, that we can live with.”

Crude prices this year have so far been buoyed by supply cuts from the oil cartel and Russia, which is not a member of the OPEC.

In a report, Arab Petroleum Investments estimated that oil prices are likely to trade at $60 to $70 a barrel by the middle of this year.

But looming over the supply cuts led by the OPEC is a surge in US oil supply, driven by an increase in onshore shale drilling.

As a result, crude oil production in the country edged up by two million barrels per day (Mbpd) last year to a record 11.7Mbpd.