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Oil Prices Rise on Renewed Trade Hopes Ahead of Talks

Investing.com -- Crude oil prices rose on Wednesday after various unconfirmed reports breathed life into hopes that the U.S. and China can at least agree a temporary and partial truce to their multi-faceted dispute when trade talks resume on Thursday.

By 8:20 AM ET (1220 GMT), the U.S. WTI benchmark future was at $53.28 a barrel, up 1.2% from late Tuesday. The international benchmark blend Brent was up 1.2% at $58.95 a barrel.

Bloomberg reported that China had expressed its continued willingness to strike a limited deal, while the Financial Times reported that China was willing to buy up to 10 million tons more in U.S. soybeans a year. That would be worth around $3.25 billion at current prices.

President Donald Trump said at the weekend he’s not interested in a partial deal and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said last month that the dispute couldn’t be solved just by China buying “a little more pork or soybeans.”

The news nonetheless supported a market that has been beaten down in recent days by fears over global demand. Russell Hardy, chief executive of Vitol, one of the world’s largest oil traders, was quoted by wires on Wednesday as telling a conference that global demand could grow by as little as 750,000 barrels a day this year, well below the forecast of OPEC and the International Energy Agency.

"Concerns over the future are winning,” Energy Intelligence reported Hardy as saying. “The risk premium vanished pretty quickly after the Saudi attacks.”

He and other senior executives from the trading industry all said they say Brent averaging less than $60 a barrel next year, a figure that may squeeze the cash flow of international majors who budget for around that figure.

Demand fears were clearly in focus after Tuesday’s data from the American Petroleum Institute showing an estimated 4.1 million rise in crude oil inventories last week, well ahead of the expected 1.41 million barrel increase. Official government data will be released at 10:30 AM ET (1430 GMT).

Elsewhere, Gasoline Futures were up 1.2% at $1.6004 a gallon, while Natural Gas futures were down 0.6% at $2.2760 per 10,000 MMBtu.

Elsewhere, Gasoline Futures were up 1.2% at $1.6004 a gallon, while Natural Gas futures were down 0.6% at $2.2760 per 10,000 MMBtu.

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