Oil prices hold above $63 per barrel on US-China trade talks optimism

held above $63 per barrel on Monday as positive comments from the United States and China rekindled hopes in global markets that the world’s two largest economies could soon sign an interim deal to end their trade war.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 were up 12 cents at $63.51 a barrel by 1127 GMT. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 was flat at $57.80.

“It is still all about trade talks,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney. “It seems to be dominating markets action at the moment.”

A move by China to protect intellectual property was also providing a supportive atmosphere for the trade talks, McCarthy added.

Analysts at Barclays said they saw Brent oscillating around $60 per barrel for the next two years.

US national security adviser Robert O’Brien said on Saturday that an initial trade agreement with China was still possible by the end of the year.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed a desire to sign an initial trade deal and defuse a 16-month tariff war that has lowered global growth.

Still, concern remains that events in Hong Kong, riven by months of anti-government unrest, could overshadow trade talk progress.

O’Brien warned on Saturday that Washington would not turn a blind eye to what happens in Hong Kong, where demonstrators were angry at what they see as an erosion of freedoms.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meets on Dec. 5 at its headquarters in Vienna, followed by talks with a group of other oil producers, led by Russia, known as OPEC+.

The group is widely expected to extend its supply cut to mid-2020 although the market is keen to see deeper cuts.

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