Oil steadies as Russia touts easing OPEC+ output

By Devika Krishna Kumar NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices were little changed on Monday as Russia said an OPEC-led producer group may consider easing output cuts next year, offsetting support from some investor optimism that an initial U.S.-China trade deal would be signed soon. Brent crude was up 25 cents, or 0.4%, at $66.39 per barrel by 12:08 p.m

Reuters December 24, 2019 00:10:53 IST
Oil steadies as Russia touts easing OPEC+ output

Oil steadies as Russia touts easing OPEC output

By Devika Krishna Kumar

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices were little changed on Monday as Russia said an OPEC-led producer group may consider easing output cuts next year, offsetting support from some investor optimism that an initial U.S.-China trade deal would be signed soon.

Brent crude was up 25 cents, or 0.4%, at $66.39 per barrel by 12:08 p.m. ET (1705 GMT) in thin trading ahead of the Christmas holiday. West Texas Intermediate was up 11 cents, or 0.2%, at $60.55 a barrel.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other top producing nations led by Russia agreed this month to extend and deepen output cuts in the first quarter of 2020.

However, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Monday that the group, known as OPEC+, may consider easing the output restrictions at their meeting in March.

"We can consider any options, including gradual easing of quotas, including continuation of the deal," Novak told Russia's RBC TV in an interview recorded last week, adding that Russia's oil output was set to hit a record high this year.

Non-OPEC global supply is expected to rise next year due to higher output from countries including the United States, Brazil, Norway and Guyana, which became an oil producer last week.

Another source of more oil could emerge in the coming months after Kuwait indicated that a long-standing dispute over the "Neutral Zone" on its border with Saudi Arabia will be resolved by the end of 2019.

Production at two large oil fields in the Neutral Zone was halted more than three years ago, cutting output by some 500,000 barrels per day.

"Oil prices remained soft after Friday's drop that stemmed from the Saudi Arabia and Kuwait deal to resume production along their border ... The short-squeeze on oil may be running out of steam but if WTI and Brent prices can hold $60 and $65 respectively, we could see prices remain supported going into the first few weeks of January," said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York.

Oil prices have risen since the United States and China agreed a so-called Phase 1 trade deal earlier this month following months of tit-for-tat negotiations that unsettled markets. President Donald Trump on Saturday said the United States and China would "very shortly" sign the pact.

Under the pact, the United States is expected to agree to reduce some tariffs in return for a big increase in purchases U.S. agricultural products by Chinese importers.

Data showing that U.S. energy companies added the most oil rigs last week since February 2018, primarily in the Permian shale basin, also put pressure on prices.

(Additional reporting by Ron Bousso in London, Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo; editing by Kirsten Donovan, Steve Orlofsky and Grant McCool)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

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

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

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.