Oil hovers near three-month highs, supported by low U.S. inventories, trade progress
By Collin Eaton HOUSTON (Reuters) - Oil prices hovered near the highest in three months in thin pre-Christmas trading on Thursday, buoyed by the previous day's news that U.S. crude inventories declined and as U.S.-China trade tensions continued to ease. Brent crude futures were up 38 cents at $66.55 a barrel at 10:05 a.m
By Collin Eaton
HOUSTON (Reuters) - Oil prices hovered near the highest in three months in thin pre-Christmas trading on Thursday, buoyed by the previous day's news that U.S. crude inventories declined and as U.S.-China trade tensions continued to ease.
Brent crude futures were up 38 cents at $66.55 a barrel at 10:05 a.m. CST (1605 GMT), heading for the sixth straight day of gains.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 20 cents at $61.13 a barrel. The contract for January delivery expires later on Thursday.
Trading volume was thin, with oil headed for a third consecutive weekly rise. Prices were buoyed by China's Dec. 13 decision to cancel a plan to impose additional tariffs on U.S. imports on Dec. 15 and the Phase 1 deal between Washington and China, which has eased trade tensions.
The deal between the world's two largest economies has improved the global economic outlook, lifting prospects for higher energy demand next year and underpinning oil prices.
"The market's happy with (Dec. 15) tariffs out of the way and the trade truce, for now," said Bill Baruch, president at Blue Line Futures in Chicago.
In a further sign of thawing relations, China's finance ministry on Thursday published a new list of six U.S. products that will be exempt from tariffs starting Dec. 26.
Oil has also gained momentum from announcements about deeper output cuts by major crude producers. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers such as Russia agreed earlier this month to deepen production cuts by a further 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) from Jan. 1 on top of previous reductions of 1.2 million bpd.
Adding to the positive mood, weekly data from the Energy Information Administration showed U.S. crude inventories dropped 1.1 million barrels in the week to Dec. 13, while gasoline and distillates stockpiles rose.
News of President Donald Trump's impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives failed to stir the oil market.
"A resilient performance in the coming two weeks will flip the monthly technical picture unreservedly positive for next year," PVM oil market analysts said, although they said prices were still likely to be volatile.
(Additional reporting by Shadia Nasralla in LONDON and Florence Tan in SINGAPORE; Editing by Edmund Blair/Mark Potter/Jane Merriman/David Gregorio)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.