Oil steady as US-China trade tensions ease

Oil steady as US-China trade tensions ease

An oil pump is seen operating in the Permian Basin near Midland, Texas, U.S. on May 3, 2017.

The West Texas Intermediate for May delivery fell 0.14 US dollar to settle at 63.37 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for June delivery lost 0.10 dollar to close at 68.02 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange. Oil prices have recently closely tracked equities. Traders were looking for a draw of 1.26 million barrels. [.N] USA officials said the countries could negotiate.

"This morning, it is all about the macro (economic) situation and how the trade relationship between the USA and China is evolving", BNP Paribas head of commodities strategy Harry Tchilinguirian told the Reuters Global Oil Forum.

"It's kind of bullish that they feel like they can justify those higher prices and not lose market share", he said.

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Analysts surveyed by Reuters had predicted a small gain in stocks. The U.S. dollar rose to its highest in more than one month against a basket of major currencies.DXY. Because oil is dollar-priced, a stronger greenback makes purchases in other currencies more expensive and exerts downward pressure on oil.

US storage decreased to 425.3 million barrels last week, while outbound shipments of crude expanded to a record, according to the Energy Information Administration's weekly report Wednesday.

The fall had exceed $1 per barrel before losses were pared by United States data released mid-morning showing a reduction of 4.6 million barrels to 425.3 million barrels in the previous week's crude inventories. As a result, the USA production numbers for last week, to be released later in the day, will probably be higher than the previous week's. Output from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries dropped to the lowest in a year in March.

Lending some price support to oil was a comment on Tuesday by Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, referring to earlier comments by Saudi Arabia that talks were taking place on a long-term market co-operation deal between Opec and non-Opec producers led by Russia.

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