By Elizabeth Low and Grant Smith
Futures in New York steadied near $61 a barrel after settling on Thursday at the highest in more than three months. China said its negotiating team was in close contact with its American counterparts for the signing of an agreement, which is expected in January. U.S. crude inventories fell to the lowest level since the beginning of November, government data showed earlier this week.
Oil has been on an upward trend since early October as easing tensions between Washington and Beijing allayed fears that slowing global growth will erode fuel demand. It also received a boost as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allied producers pledged deeper output curbs in an effort to prevent a supply surplus.
“A sense of cautious bullishness is developing as we head into 2020,” said Stephen Brennock, an analyst at PVM Oil Associates Ltd. in London. “Supply-side and demand-side factors are singing from the same supportive hymn sheet.”
West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery fell 22 cents at $60.96 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 8:19 a.m. local time. The January contract settled 29 cents higher at $61.22 when it expired on Thursday.
Brent for February delivery slid 22 cents to $66.32 on the London-based ICE Futures Europe Exchange. The global benchmark crude traded at $5.37 premium to WTI for the same month.
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