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February 22, 2019

Oil prices remain stable on hopes of US-Sino trade deal

Oil prices have remained stable, as they were lifted by ongoing supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and hopes regarding the US and China trade deal.

Oil prices have remained stable, as they were lifted by ongoing supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and hopes regarding the US and China trade deal.

International Brent crude futures were eight cents above their last close at $67.15 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures rose ten cents at $57.06 a barrel, Reuters reported.

Despite reversing earlier decreases, oil prices remained below 2019 peaks as crude oil production in the US hit a record 12 million barrels per day (Mbpd).

Traders said oil prices gained support on expectations that the trade deal between the US and China will conclude with a positive outcome before a 1 March deadline.

“We see total US crude production hitting 13Mbpd by year-end, with 2019 averaging 12.5Mbpd.”

US President Donald Trump will meet with Chinese vice-premier Liu He in Washington to forge a preliminary trade deal with its rival before tariffs on some Chinese imports more than double next month.

OPEC-led supply cuts also offered some support to oil prices.

Late last year, OPEC and some non-affiliated producers such as Russia agreed to reduce crude production by 1.2Mbpd to prevent an increase in supply.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) said that commercial crude oil inventories in the US increased by 3.7 million barrels to 454.5 million barrels in the week ending 15 February.

According to analysts, production in the country is expected to increase further and the companies will export more oil to sell-off surplus stocks.

US bank Citi was quoted by the news agency as saying: “We see total US crude production hitting 13Mbpd by year-end, with 2019 averaging 12.5Mbpd.”

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