Oil Perks on Reports of U.S.-China Tensions Easing

Oil prices rose on Wednesday following media reports that China was open to a partial trade deal with the United States, while inventories were found to be on the rise.

Brent crude was up 50 cents at $58.74 U.S. a barrel, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was at $53.20, up 57 cents.

Figures released Wednesday morning revealed that U.S. crude stocks rose last week as refineries cut output, while gasoline and distillate inventories fell. The EIA said crude inventories rose by 2.9 million barrels in the last week, compared with analysts’ expectations for an increase of 1.4 million barrels.

Elsewhere, negotiators from the United States and China, the world’s top two economies, will meet in Washington on Thursday in the latest effort to hammer out a deal aimed at ending a long-running trade dispute that has slowed global growth.

Tensions between the two sides rose this week as the United States imposed visa restrictions on Chinese officials and placed some major Chinese companies on a blacklist.

Meanwhile, there are also jitters about petroleum prices on the world stage. The heads of the world’s biggest trading houses, Vitol, Trafigura and Gunvor, told the annual Oil and Money conference in London that oil will weaken next year to around $50 per barrel due to slowing global demand.