Oil Edges Up on Upbeat Data, Mideast Unrest

Oil Edges Up on Upbeat Data, Mideast UnrestOil Edges Up on Upbeat Data, Mideast Unrest

Oil prices held on to three-month high on Monday, underpinned by optimism over an expected China-US trade deal and upbeat industrial data, while traders kept a close watch on the Middle East following a US air strike.
Investors remained cautious despite news of the US strikes in Iraq and Syria against Kataib Hezbollah group, Reuters reported.
West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 4 cents to $61.76 a barrel. The US benchmark is up about 36% so far this year.
Brent crude futures were at $68.33 a barrel, up 17 cents, or 0.3%. The international benchmark has risen around 27% in 2019.
US officials said the air strikes were in response to the killing of a US civilian contractor in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base were successful, but warned that “additional actions” may still be taken.
Elsewhere, Libyan state oil firm NOC said it is considering the closure of its western Zawiya port and evacuating staff from the refinery located there due to clashes nearby.
Oil prices were also supported by declining US crude stocks, which fell by 5.5 million barrels in the week to Dec. 20, far exceeding a 1.7-million-barrel drop forecast in a Reuter’s poll.


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