Investing.com – Oil prices were little changed on Friday in Asia amid reports that U.S. and China are making progress in trade negotiations, while a private survey released earlier in the day reinforced fears of an economic slowdown in China.
Following the conclusion of the trade talks between U.S. and Chinese officials on Thursday, U.S. President said he is meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping “soon” to seal a trade deal before the March 1 deadline, and that the two nations are making “substantial progress” during the high-level talks this week.
On the other hand, a survey that showed China’s factory activity shrank by the most in almost three years in January was cited as weighing oil prices down.
The for January fell a second straight month and reached 48.3 from last months 49.7. Analysts previously expected only a marginal drip for January to 49.5.
last traded at $53.78 per barrel at 1:56 AM ET (06:56 GMT), down 0.02%. For January, it rose 18.5% for its best advance since April 2016. According to Reuters, that near-19% gain also made it WTI’s best January on record.
, the global oil benchmark, edged up 0.1% to $60.89. Brent was up about 15% in January, also the best monthly gain since April 2016.
Oil prices received some support this week following the Trump administration’s sanctions against Carasas’ state-owned oil firm PDVSA which effectively halts the flow of Venezuelan crude, a heavy sulfur-laden grade that’s critical for making diesel and other transportation fuels, to the U.S.
Weekly U.S. oil data that showed a drop of 1.1 million barrels in Saudi exports of crude to the U.S. was also cited as a tailwind.
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