Oil prices edge higher on U.S. stimulus hopes, supply concerns
By Stephanie Kelly NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices edged higher on Monday as optimism around U.S.
By Stephanie Kelly
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices edged higher on Monday as optimism around U.S. stimulus plans and some supply concerns boosted futures, but demand worries prompted by coronavirus lockdowns limited gains.
Brent crude futures rose 31 cents to $55.72 a barrel by 1:32 p.m. EST (1832 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 32 cents to $52.59 a barrel.
Officials in U.S. President Joe Biden's administration on a Sunday call with Republican and Democratic lawmakers tried to head off Republican concerns that his $1.9 trillion pandemic relief proposal was too expensive.
"In the U.S., newly inaugurated President Biden seems to be pushing for a quick approval of his proposed $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package, a development interpreted by the market as a clear indication that the new U.S. administration aims to kick-start an economic recovery, which will naturally benefit fuel consumption," said Bjornar Tonhaugen, Rystad Energy's head of oil markets.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies' compliance with pledged oil output curbs is averaging 85% so far in January, tanker tracker Petro-Logistics said on Monday, suggesting the group had improved its adherence to pledged supply curbs.
Other supply concerns have offered some support. Indonesia said its coast guard seized an Iranian-flagged tanker over suspected illegal fuel transfers, raising the prospect of more tensions in the oil-exporting Gulf.
Output from Kazakhstan's giant Tengiz field was disrupted by a power outage on Jan. 17.
Meanwhile, European nations have imposed tough restrictions to halt the spread of the virus, while China reported a rise in new COVID-19 cases, casting a pall over demand prospects in the world's largest energy consumer.
Barclays raised its 2021 oil price forecasts, but said rising cases in China could contribute to near-term pullbacks.
(Reporting by Stephanie Kelly in New York; additional reporting by Noah Browning in London; Editing by Paul Simao and David Evans)
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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
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