OIL PRICES: STILL ABOVE $55
REUTERS - Oil prices were little changed on Tuesday in light pre-New Year holiday trading with markets adopting a wait-and-see stance less than a week before the first output cut deal agreed between OPEC and non-OPEC members in 15 years is scheduled to kick in.
London Brent crude for February delivery LCOc1 was down 1 cents at $55.15 a barrel by 0335 GMT (10.35 p.m. ET) after settling up 11 cents on Friday. Oil markets were closed on Monday after Christmas at the weekend.
NYMEX crude for February delivery CLc1 was up 10 cents at $53.12 a barrel, after closing at a 17-month high on Friday.
Jan. 1. bring the official start of the deal agreed by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC members to lower production by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd). The accord is designed to bolster oil prices, squeezed for more than two years by a global supply glut.
"OPEC's output cuts are nearing, but because there's hardly any news on producers, the market is stuck in the doldrums," said Tomomichi Akuta, senior economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting in Tokyo.
While major OPEC members led by Saudi Arabia, will cut production, Libya and Nigeria - exempt because armed conflict has curbed their output - have been increasing production recently, Akuta said.
Libya has boosted production by about 22,000 barrels per day after major western pipelines were reopened and it could add 270,000 bpd within three months, the National Oil Corporation said.
"That raises concerns that despite the coordinated output cuts, the market may not tighten as much," Akuta said.
The U.S. Department of Energy expects to begin sales of roughly 8 million barrels of sweet crude from the country's emergency oil reserve in early to mid-January, according to a notice seen by Reuters on Friday.
Meanwhile Russia's oil exports would rise by almost 5 percent this year to 253.5 million tonnes and a "slight" increase was expected next year, Deputy Energy Minister Kirill Molodtsov said on Monday. Russia is among the non-OPEC countries who signed up to the production cut deal agreed with OPEC.
In China, end-November crude oil stocks fell 1.55 percent from the previous month to 29.89 million tonnes as domestic output shrank and winter demand grew, data from the official Xinhua news agency showed.
Hedge funds boosted bullish bets on U.S. crude oil for a third week in a row to a near 2-1/2 year high, data showed on Friday.
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PLATTS - For full-year 2017, South Korea's crude imports from its biggest supplier Saudi Arabia fell 1.7% to 319.02 million barrels, compared with 324.45 million barrels in the previous year, customs data showed. On the contrary, South Korea has imported 1.77 million mt, or around 13 million barrels, of crude from the US in 2017, about four times higher than in 2016. Shipments from Russia grew to 140,000 b/d last year from 112,000 b/d in 2016.
AOG - ADNOC’s 2030 strategy, he said, aims to capitalise on predicted global economic growth and demand for oil and petrochemical products, particularly in non-OECD countries. As its business responds to changing market dynamics, the company will continue to broaden its partnership base, strengthen its profitability, adapt to new realities and expand market access.
WNN - Under the terms of the assignment and purchase agreement it has signed with Nucleus and Brookfield, Toshiba will sell its rights to assert claims against Westinghouse related to the parent guarantees in the amount of $5.788 billion, and on account of other claims Toshiba holds against Westinghouse in the amount of $2.284 billion to Nucleus, for the sale price of $2.160 billion.
REUTERS - Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $69.23 a barrel at 0808 GMT, up 8 cents from their last close, but down from a high of $69.37 earlier in the day. Brent on Monday rose to $70.37 a barrel, its highest since December 2014, the start of a three-year oil price slump. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $63.84 a barrel, down from a high of $63.89 earlier, but up 11 cents from their last settlement. WTI hit $64.89 on Tuesday, also the highest since December 2014.