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Oil steadies after Trump dashes hopes on trade deal details

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Oil prices ended on Tuesday little changed after paring gains of about 1 per cent following a speech from US President Donald Trump that offered few new details about Washington's trade talks with Beijing.

[NEW YORK] Oil prices ended on Tuesday little changed after paring gains of about 1 per cent following a speech from US President Donald Trump that offered few new details about Washington's trade talks with Beijing.

Concerns about slower economic growth and oil demand due to the fallout from the 16-month trade dispute between the world's two biggest economies have weighed on crude futures.

Brent crude futures ended the session down 12 cents at US$62.06 a barrel after trading between US$62.85 and US$61.82. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures settled down 6 cents at US$56.80 a barrel.

Prices pared earlier gains after Mr Trump's remarks to a lunch gathering of The Economic Club of New York included mixed messages about US-China trade talks and excluded specifics about any progress in negotiations.

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Mr Trump said US and Chinese negotiators were "close" to a "phase one" trade deal, but largely repeated well-worn rhetoric about China's "cheating" on trade.

Earlier, prices received support from data that showed crude inventories at Cushing, the delivery point for WTI, fell by about 1.2 million barrels in the week to Nov 8, traders said, citing market intelligence firm Genscape.

Inventories at the hub were expected to draw down after a more than 9,000-barrel leak forced the 590,000-barrel-per-day Keystone crude pipeline to be shut in late October. The line has since been restarted at reduced pressure.

Cushing inventories had grown for five weeks in a row through Nov 1, according to government data.

However, crude stockpiles nationwide were forecast to have risen last week for a third week in a row, a preliminary poll ahead of government data due on Thursday showed. Weekly energy data has been delayed a day due to the Veterans Holiday on Monday.

Brent has risen 16 per cent in 2019, supported by a supply-limiting pact by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and allies including Russia. The producers meet on Dec 5-6 to decide whether to extend the deal.

Oman, one of the outside producers working with Opec, said on Monday that the alliance would probably extend the agreement but was unlikely to increase the size of the supply cut.

In a further supportive supply-side development, Goldman Sachs cut its 2020 forecast for growth in US oil production, which has surged in recent years and helped keep a lid on prices.

"The market is stuck between a perception of 2020 oversupply and strengthening physical markets for oil globally," said Scott Shelton, a broker at ICAP in Durham.

REUTERS