Oil price rises in hopes of U.S.-China deal, OPEC cuts


Oil prices rose to the fourth consecutive weekly gain on Friday, steadying at three-month highs after new data showed US crude inventories fell far more than expected, while upbeat economic data and optimism over a U.S. "It's their way of negotiating with OPEC", said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies including Russian Federation agreed in early December to make a further cut of 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) from January 1 on top of previous reductions of 1.2 million bpd.

Data on Friday showed profits at China's industrial firms rose at the fastest pace in eight months in November. -China trade tariff war, a dispute that has overshadowed global economic growth prospects and left questionmarks over future demand for crude.

The Energy Information Administration reported that oil inventories fell 5.47 million barrels while supplies at the key Cushing, Oklahoma, storage hub declined to the lowest in more than a year.

Gold also gets a boost ahead of the trade deal signing, rising over the $1,500 per ounce level for the strongest performance in more than two months.

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The American Petroleum Institute, an oil industry group, said late on Tuesday that USA crude stocks fell 7.9 million barrels last week, much more than the decline forecast by analysts. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait agreed to resume oil production in their shared "neutral zone" more than four years after halting output, though with both nations adhering to the OPEC+ agreement the development isn't expected to usher more crude into world markets.

That has helped swell inventories with U.S. stocks up around 1% this year.

Oil is up about 12% this month after the USA and China made a breakthrough in their prolonged trade dispute and as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies agreed to deepen output cuts.

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. "We think there is a good chance that oil prices will be higher in several years as non-OPEC production growth slows materially into the next decade".

Trading volume remains low because of the Christmas holidays, which have delayed the release of the U.S. government's official oil inventory report by two days until Friday.