Oil prices edge lower on economic concerns, but geopolitics support

West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for May rose to a high of $62.99 a barrel, before settling at $62.10, losing $0.36. The session high of $70.46 was the strongest since November 12. The contract fell 36 cents in the previous session, having hit $62.99 on Wednesday, its highest since Nov 7.

After posting a 1.1 percent rise on Monday (April 1st), its best intra-day performance in three weeks, MSCI's key gauge of global equities, which keeps track of stock exchanges of 47 countries, had been on a hold for most part of the session on Tuesday (April 2nd).

The U.S. Labour Department report showed employment growth accelerated from a 17-month low in March as milder weather boosted hiring in sectors like construction.

In a signal that supply may tighten more, a USA official said on Tuesday that three of eight countries granted waivers by Washington to import oil from Iran had cut such purchases to zero, adding that improved oil market conditions would help reduce Iranian crude exports further.

"The OPEC+ group has so far maintained a high compliance with their output-cut deal, which together with positive economic data from the USA and China, are supporting oil prices", Kumar said.

Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA expects its crude upgraders to operate well below capacity this month, according to industry sources and documents seen by Reuters.


Venezuela depends on the upgraders to convert the extra-heavy crude oil produced in the Orinoco Belt into exportable grades usable in overseas refineries.

Signs of progress in US-China trade negotiations and positive Chinese and US factory activity data in recent days have also helped market sentiment by easing fears about weakening global oil demand.

Lingering concerns over U.S. -China trade relations also supported prices. Meanwhile, the USA crude oil production rose to a record 12.2 million bpd last week.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday said the two sides were "very close to making a deal", though the United States remains hesitant to lift $250 billion in tariffs that China is seeking to have removed.

USA and Chinese trade negotiators will continue talks next week by video conference as they try to reach a deal to resolve the trade war, White House adviser Larry Kudlow said on Friday.


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