Oil prices near three-month highs on US-China trade deal

LONDON: Oil prices on Monday held near three-month highs, supported by last week’s announcement that an initial trade deal had been reached between the United States and China.

Brent crude oil futures rose $0.17 or 0.3pc to $65.39 a barrel by 0940 GMT, while West Texas Intermediate crude was up $0.1 or 0.2pc to $60.17 a barrel.

The United States and China announced on Friday a “phase one” agreement that will reduce some US tariffs in exchange for what US officials said would be a big jump in Chinese purchases of US farm products and other goods.

“What the market needs now, though, is clarity around exactly what the deal entails,” analysts from ING Economics said. “The longer we have to wait for this detail, the more likely market participants will start to question how good a deal it actually is.”

The Friday agreement averted additional tariffs on Chinese goods totalling $160 billion that the United States was set to impose over the weekend.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Sunday the deal would nearly double US exports to China over the next two years and was “totally done” despite the need for translation and revisions to its text.

China State Council’s customs tariff commission said on Sunday it had suspended additional tariffs on some US goods that were meant to be implemented on December 15.

Data from China on Monday showing industrial output and retail sales growth accelerating more than expected in November offered some support for oil prices.

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