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From the Field

Oil prices near flat as traders seek clarity on trade deal

LONDON, December 17, 2019 – Oil prices traded near flat on Tuesday in Asia amid China’s lack of enthusiasm about the phase one deal announced by the Trump administration late last week.

US Crude Oil WTI Futures and the International Brent Oil Futures both traded 0.03% lower by 12:27 AM ET (04:27 GMT).

Under the agreement, Washington suspended planned tariffs on Chinese goods in exchange for Beijing purchases of agricultural, manufactured and energy products increasing by about $200 billion over the next two years.

 

However, traders and analysts expressed scepticism over how much products Beijing will actually purchase. It is also unclear when the next phase of negotiations will begin.

Citing unnamed Chinese officials, Reuters said the wording of the agreement, which will be officially signed in January, “remained a delicate issue.” Both sides want to make sure expressions used in text did not re-escalate tensions and deepen differences, according to the report.

Oil prices have received some support this month after OPEC announced that it planned to take as much as 2.1 million barrels, or 2.1%, per day off global oil supplies in the first quarter of 2020.

WTI is up 9% for December, heading its strongest month since June, while Brent gained 4% rise on the month and 22% on the year.

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