LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Tuesday on optimism U.S.-China trade tensions will ease and on hopes major economies will take stimulus measures to ward off a potential economic slowdown that could hit oil demand.
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A crude oil tanker is seen at Qingdao Port, Shandong province, China, April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee Brent crude LCOc1 was up 25 cents to $59.99 a barrel by 0904 GMT while U.S. crude CLc1 was up 19 cents at $56.40 a barrel.
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The United States said it would extend a reprieve that permits China’s Huawei Technologies to buy components from U.S. companies, signaling a slight softening of the trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies
The extension brought “relief to investors”, Tamas Varga from oil brokerage PVM said
Fears of a full blown-out trade war between the world’s two largest economies have weighed on sentiment in recent months
“The U.S.-China trade spat has been at the center of the oil market demise, which has sent the global economy to the brink of recession and negatively impacted oil demand forecasts,” Stephen Innes, managing partner of VM Markets, said in a note
A rally in equity markets around the world on growing expectations that global economies will take action against slowing growth also supported crude prices
China’s new lending reference rate was set slightly lower on Tuesday after the central bank announced interest rate reforms designed to reduce corporate borrowing costs, while Germany’s right-left coalition government said it would be prepared to ditch its balanced budget rule and take on new debt to counter a possible recession
“China’s announcement of key interest rate reforms over the weekend has driven expectations of an imminent reduction in corporate borrowing costs,” financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald said in a note
A drone attack over the weekend launched by Yemen’s Houthi group on the Shaybah oilfield in eastern Saudi Arabia also lent support
The attack caused a “limited” fire at a gas plant but had no impact on oil production, state-run oil company Saudi Aramco said
Still, prices were weighed down by a report from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries that stoked concerns about oil demand growth
Traders were also watching for signs of tension in the Middle East after the United States called the release of an Iranian tanker at the center of a confrontation between Iran and Washington unfortunate, warning Greece and Mediterranean ports against helping the vessel
Additional reporting by Jessica Jaganathan in Singapore; editing by David Evans