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Crude oil futures steady on stimulus hopes, possible output cut extension

Singapore — 0235 GMT: Crude oil futures were steady during mid-morning trade in Asia Oct. 23, after settling higher overnight on fresh hopes of an agreement on the US stimulus bill and as Russia signals that it will not rule out an extension of production cuts next year.

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At 10.35 am Singapore time (0235 GMT), ICE Brent December crude futures was 4 cents/b higher from the Oct. 22 settle at $42.50/b (0.09%), while the NYMEX December light sweet crude contract was up 4 cents/b (0.10%) at $40.68/b. Both oil futures had risen 1.75% and 1.52% respectively to settle at $42.46/b and $40.64/b, respectively, on Oct. 22.

"Oil climbed overnight on stimulus hopes and also comments by Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia is ready to cut oil output further if needed," UOB analysts said in a report on Oct. 23.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Oct. 22 that the White House and the Congressional Democrats are "just about there" on reaching a deal for a second round coronavirus stimulus bill, according to media reports.

Meanwhile, Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Oct. 22 did not rule out extending production cuts into 2021, however, he noted that the current agreement remains, according to media reports.

"Signals that OPEC are open to the idea of delaying scheduled output hikes next year also boosted sentiment. We expect Saudi Arabia and Russia will push hard over the coming weeks for members to do more than adhere to current quotas," ANZ analysts said in a report on Oct. 23.

"However, if market conditions worsen, they will have no choice but to delay the increase of quotas by a month or two at its meeting on Dec. 1," the analysts added.

Amid a lack of fresh crudes, focus during the Asian morning Oct. 23 is on the final face-off between US President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, analysts noted.

"While safe havens are in focus here as barometers of the mood from the debate, the likes of the US dollar/Chinese yuan would also be in the spotlight," Pan Jingyi, market strategist at IG, wrote in an Oct. 23 report.

"Prices had accelerated its decline of late on the back of reasons pertaining to both economic conditions and prospects of the US election outcome. A slight strengthening of the greenback on Thursday had been seen with the risk-off mood on Thursday, but retracement of these gains could be the case with Biden cementing his lead here," Pan said.

As of 0235 GMT, the US Dollar Index was up 0.06% at 93.01.