SINGAPORE/LONDON – Oil prices held above $63 a barrel on Monday as positive comments from the United States and China rekindled hopes in global markets that the world’s two largest economies could soon sign an interim deal to end their trade war.

Oil holds above $63 on U.S.-China trade talks optimism- oil and gas 360

Source: Reuters

Brent crude futures LCOc1 were down 5 cents at $63.34 a barrel by 1424 GMT. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 was down 20 cents at $57.57.

“It is still all about trade talks,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney. “It seems to be dominating markets action at the moment.”

A move by China to protect intellectual property was also providing a supportive atmosphere for the trade talks, McCarthy added.

Analysts at Barclays said they expect Brent to oscillate around $60 a barrel for the next two years.

U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien on Saturday said that an initial trade agreement with China was still possible by the end of the year.

Chinese daily Global Times on Monday cited experts close to trade talks as saying that China and the United States have reached a broad consensus on the first phase of the trade deal, though some differences remain over the removal of tariffs.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Friday expressed a desire to sign an initial trade deal and defuse a 16-month tariff war that has lowered global growth.

However, concern remains that events in Hong Kong, riven by months of anti-government unrest, could undermine progress in trade talk.

O’Brien warned on Saturday that Washington would not turn a blind eye to what happens in Hong Kong, where demonstrators were angry at what they see as an erosion of freedoms.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meets on Dec. 5 at its headquarters in Vienna, followed by talks with other oil producers in the OPEC+ group, led by Russia.

The group is widely expected to extend its supply cut to mid-2020.

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