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James Hyerczyk
Crude Oil

U.S. West Texas Intermediate and international-benchmark crude oil futures are trading nearly flat to slightly better on Wednesday, underpinned by optimism over Brexit and new signs that OPEC and its allies are willing to make further supply cuts, but pressured by renewed concerns over U.S.-China trade relations and potentially bearish weekly inventories reports.

At 11:54 GMT, December WTI crude oil is trading $53.04, up $0.16 or +0.30% and December Brent crude oil is at $58.71, down $0.03 or -0.05%.

Traders Hoping for Favorable Brexit Deal

Traders are optimistic that the European Union and the United Kingdom will strike a deal that avoids a “hard” or no-deal Brexit. This should boost economic growth and consequently oil growth and prices.

Early Tuesday optimistic comments on Brexit from European negotiator Michel Barnier were backed up by reports that a draft legal text over the divorce was being drawn up.

“Our team(s) are working hard, and work has just started now today, this work has been intense over the weekend and yesterday, because even if the agreement will be difficult, more and more difficult, to be frank, it is still possible this week,” Barnier told reporters in Luxembourg on Tuesday morning.

He added that “any agreement must work for everyone,” saying it is “high time to turn good intentions into a legal text.”

By mid-afternoon (Tuesday), one report suggested that a draft deal was in the works according to two separate sources familiar with negotiations.

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Further Supply Curbs Possible

OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said OPEC “will do whatever (is) in its power” along with its allied producers to sustain oil market stability beyond 2020.

Daily Forecast

The markets are at a stalemate on Wednesday because of fading hopes of a trade deal between the United States and China after the latter threatened countermeasures against the U.S. for showing support for the Hong Kong protesters.

Traders are also looking for further developments over Brexit. A deal to allow the U.K. without hard ramifications should underpin prices.

Late in the session, the price action will be driven by the weekly inventories report from the American Petroleum Institute at 20:30 GMT. It is expected to show U.S. crude stocks probably grew for the fifth straight week, according to a Reuters survey.

The report has been delayed one day because of Monday’s U.S. bank holiday. The Energy Information Administration will report on Thursday.

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