Oil Edges up, with Market Non the Wiser on Trade Deal 


Investing.com – Oil prices edged higher to settle up on Monday after traders spent most of the session clueless on whether phase one of the U.S.-China deal was coming soon, as President Donald Trump had insisted it was.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude settled up 24 cents, or 0.4%, at $58.01 per barrel, after tumbling 1.4% on Friday.

U.K. Brent, the global benchmark for crude, rose 26 cents to settle at $63.65, after the previous session’s 1% slide.

“The noise in here is significant with the Chinese trade deal,” said Scott Shelton, energy broker at ICAP (LON:NXGN) in Durham, N.C.

He said his gut told him that oil could be headed higher “as physical is strong and positioning is not overly heavy on the long side”.

Yet, he conceded that “we are on the highs and I could see quick and painful moves back towards the middle of the range … which makes this a bad risk reward trade to be long.”

The trade war is closing in on its 17th month with the domestic politics of both countries often shaping the narrative rather actual trade benefits.

China announced at the weekend would seek to improve protections for intellectual property rights, which had been a sticking point in the talks and one of the main U.S. asks.

China’s newspaper Global Times, meanwhile, echoed U.S. President Donald Trump’s remarks on Friday that the two sides were “very close” to a deal.

But Trump also said more last week that could end up annoying Beijing.

Even as he remained hopeful of a conclusion to the trade dispute, Trump had continued to wag the additional-tariffs-by-December-15 stick at China.

He also bragged that he had practically “saved” Hong Kong from annihilation by holding the trade talks as an ace against China, so that Beijing did not send in the military against Hong Kong rioters opposed its rule.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, on his part, pointed out that China will not be dictated by colonial powers and will fight back if necessary.

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