A maze of crude oil pipes and valves pictured during a tour by the Department of Energy at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport, Texas, US - Reuters
TOKYO (Reuters): Oil prices were steady on Friday as investors braced for data expected to show China’s economic growth last year slid to its slowest pace in 29 years, holding on to gains for now after Washington and Beijing inked a long-awaited trade deal.
Brent was 3 cents higher at $64.65 by 0123 GMT, after gaining nearly 1% on Thursday. U.S. crude was up 6 cents at $58.58 a barrel, having risen more than 1% the previous session.
The Phase 1 accord between the world’s top two economies helped boosted the outlook for global trade, pushing oil prices higher on Thursday. That mood was further boosted after the U.S. Senate approved changes to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement following the signing of the Phase 1 deal.The impact of the trade row between Washington and Beijing last year is likely to show up in China’s official 2019 economic data, set to be released at 0200 GMT.
“The next big move for crude may need to come (from) an improving global outlook that may require further stimulus from Europe,” where growth has been less than stellar, said Edward Moya senior market analyst at OANDA.
Still, prices are being held back after the International Energy Agency forecast that oil supply would exceed demand for crude from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, even if members are fully compliant in their agreement with Russia and other producers to curb output.