Oil held steady on the final day of the year Tuesday, heading for their highest annual increase since 2016, supported by a break in the prolonged U.S.-China trade war and supply cuts.
Brent crude futures for March delivery, the new front-month deal, have been at $66.66 per barrel, down 1 cent. Brent for February delivery settled on Monday at $68.44.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for February was down 3 cents at $61.65.
Brent has gained around 24% in 2019, and WTI has risen by nearly 36%. Each benchmark is set for their most significant yearly gain in three years, supported by a breakthrough in U.S.-China trade negotiations and production cuts promised by the OPEC+.
The White House’s trade consultant stated on Monday that the U.S.-China Phase 1 trade agreement would likely be inked in the next week.
Tensions remain high in the Middle East following U.S. airstrikes on Sunday against the Katib Hezbollah militia in Iraq and Syria. Operations returned at Iraq’s Nassiriya oilfield resumed Monday after demonstrators briefly stalled production.
Looking ahead, U.S. crude inventories are expected to plunge by about 3.2 million barrels in the week to December 27, heading for a 3rd consecutive weekly drop, a preliminary poll exhibited Monday. U.S. stockpiles narrowed by 5.5 million barrels in the week to December 20.
Innes stated merchants would additionally closely watch the EIA’s U.S. October crude production figures, set to come out later on Tuesday.
Brokers and analysts expect rising U.S. supplies to balance cuts from OPEC in 2020 amid retard worldwide demand, weighing on oil prices.