Roundup: Weekly oil prices slip amid optimism on U.S.-China trade, concerns over market glut

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HOUSTON, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices fell slightly for the week ending Jan. 17 with the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for February delivery down 0.85 percent and Brent crude oil for March delivery down 0.20 percent.

WTI closed the week at 58.54 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude finished the week at 64.85 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange, both extending losses following the previous week's plummet.

WTI and Brent crude prices have decreased 4.13 percent and 1.74 percent so far this year.

In response to positive sentiments on the U.S.-China phase one trade deal and the ensuing phase two negotiations, a larger-than-expected drop in U.S. crude oil inventories and the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal known as the USMCA, both tried to recover but failed just ahead of 59 dollars for WTI and 65 dollars for Brent crude, respectively.

According to the Weekly Petroleum Status Report, U.S. commercial crude oil inventories, excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, decreased by 2.549 million barrels during the week ending Jan. 10, more than the market expected fall of 0.474 million barrels, implying greater demand and bullish for crude prices.

At the same time, China's GDP figure and reports released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) retained the prices gains.

China's economy grew 6.1 percent year on year in 2019, within the government's annual target of 6 to 6.5 percent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) of China on Friday, compared with the 6.6-percent growth registered in 2018.

Meanwhile, both IEA and OPEC have raised the 2020 non-OPEC supply growth forecast, resulting in concerns over a persistent supply surplus. That in turn puts tremendous pressure on OPEC and its allies, which may need to cut further.

During the week, the U.S. Dollar Index closed higher and met hurdle in 97.60 area. A higher index makes the U.S. dollar sensitive crude oil more expensive for foreign buyers.

Concerns over the supply disruption due to Mideast tensions have largely dissipated, while worries about weak demand and oversupply are emerging in crude oil market.

Rystad Energy, an independent oil and gas consulting services and business intelligence data firm with headquarters in Oslo, Norway, forecast oil prices are set to slide even further due to the crude glut in market.

According to Rystad Energy, the market demand for OPEC oil will average about 28.3 million barrels per day during the final nine months of 2020. However, the organization's actual production in December 2019 was 29.6 million barrels per day, and its new implied production target for the first quarter of 2020 is 29.2 million barrels per day. Enditem

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