Oil prices edge higher; supply curbs hinted


    SINGAPORE. — Oil prices rose on Wednesday, tracking gains in equities, as investors pinned hopes on a potential Brexit deal between Britain and the European Union and on signals from OPEC and its allies that further supply curbs could be possible.

    But gains were limited due to lingering concerns of a global economic slowdown.

    Global benchmark Brent crude oil futures had risen 21 cents to $58.95 by 0310 GMT, up about 0.3 percent from the previous day’s close. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude had gained 16 cents or 0.3 percent to $52.97 a barrel.

    “Oil is starting to see some bullish positions added on the easing of two big tail risks for global demand, the US-China trade war and Brexit,” said Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at OANDA in New York.

    “While a broader trade deal seems unlikely in the immediate future, the risks for the US-China trade war have been fading.”

    Last-ditch talks between Britain and the European Union to get a Brexit deal ahead of a summit of the bloc’s leaders this week ran past midnight to Wednesday, but it was still unclear if Britain could avoid postponing its departure, due on Oct. 31.

    Analysts have said any deal that avoids a “hard” or no-deal Brexit should boost economic growth and in turn oil growth and prices.

    Providing more support, OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries “will do whatever (is) in its power” along with its allied producers to sustain oil market stability beyond 2020.

    OPEC, Russia and other producers have cut oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day to support the market.

    Yet an expected rise in US crude inventories this week kept prices under pressure.
    US crude stocks probably grew for the fifth straight week, a preliminary Reuters poll showed.

    US oil inventory reports are due out from industry group the American Petroleum Institute on Wednesday and the US Energy Information Administration on Thursday. The reports have been delayed one day because of a US government holiday. – Reuters