OIL PRICE: NEAR $58 AGAIN
REUTERS - Oil prices traded flat on Wednesday as fading hopes for progress in U.S.-China trade talks pressured the market by raising uncertainty about global economic growth, while unrest in OPEC members Iraq and Ecuador helped limit losses.
Brent crude LCOc1 was down 9 cents at $58.15 a barrel by 0855 GMT, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 was at $52.55, down 8 cents.
Negotiators from the United States and China, the world's top two economies, will meet in Washington on Thursday in the latest effort to hammer out a deal aimed at ending a long-running trade dispute that has slowed global growth.
But tensions between the two sides rose this week as the United States imposed visa restrictions on Chinese officials and placed some major Chinese companies on a blacklist.
"Recent events surrounding U.S.-China ties threaten to raise new points of conflict beyond just trade differences," said Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM.
"Risk aversion shall continue being the de facto mode for global investors."
The new head of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, said the global economy was experiencing a "synchronized slowdown", warning that it would worsen if governments failed to resolve trade conflicts.
In the United States, meanwhile, crude stockpiles rose by 4.1 million barrels in the week ended Oct. 4 to 422 million, data from the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday. Analysts had expected an increase of 1.4 million barrels.
Weekly inventory data from the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration (EIA) is due at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT) on Wednesday.
Supply concerns are easing for now as the EIA said U.S. crude production was expected to rise by 1.27 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2019 to a record 12.26 million bpd, slightly above its previous forecast for an increase of 1.25 million bpd.
Saudi Arabia has also fully restored production after September attacks on its oil facilities. Saudi Aramco Chief Executive Amin Nasser said on Wednesday there was no doubt Iran was behind the attacks, and warned they may continue if there is no concerted international response.
Anti-government protests threatened oil production in Ecuador and Iraq, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, but "prices have so far largely shrugged off the potential for supply disruptions", JBC analysts wrote.
Turkey said on Wednesday its forces would cross the Syrian border "shortly", launching attacks that analysts say could potentially impact the economy of the oil-producing Kurdistan region in Iraq, and energy prices.
Log in to read the publication.
An authorized user gets access to four FREE publications per month.
You can also buy a full access to all publications of the site since January 2014.