Oil prices rose on Thursday after the signing of an initial Sino-U.S. trade deal that sets the stage for a surge in Chinese purchases of American energy products, while U.S. crude inventories fell more than expected.
Brent was 45 cents, or 0.7%, higher at $64.45 a barrel, while U.S. crude was up by 39 cents, or 0.7%, at $58.20 a barrel.
Under the so-called Phase 1 deal to call a truce in a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies, China committed to buying over $50 billion more of U.S. oil, liquefied natural gas and other energy products over two years.
Trade sources and analysts said China could struggle to meet the target and gains in oil are likely to be limited ahead of more detail on how the commitments will be achieved.
Official U.S. data showing a much bigger than expected drop in crude oil inventories, also helped underpin prices
Oil inventories fell by 2.5 million barrels, compared with analyst expectations of a drop of 500,000 barrels, according to data from the Energy Information Administration
U.S. crude production also rose to a record 13 million barrels per day, the agency said.
Oil prices are returning to range trading, analysts said, as the threat of conflict between Iran and the U.S. receded further after they traded missile and drone attacks earlier this month.
That sent Brent to highs above $71 a barrel, before prices touched more than one-month lows in advance of the signing of the U.S.-China deal.