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Crude oil futures lower on expected US stock build, Trump comments

Singapore — Crude oil futures were lower during mid-morning trade in Asia Tuesday amid expectations US stocks data due for release Wednesday would show a build, while comments by US President Donald Trump added further downside pressure.

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At 10:35 am Singapore time (0235 GMT), January ICE Brent crude futures were down 70 cents/b (1%) from Monday's settle at $69.42/b, while the NYMEX December light sweet crude contract was 82 cents/b (1.37%) lower at $59.11/b.

The front-month ICE Brent futures contract traded below $70/b for the second consecutive trading day Monday before edging higher to settle back above $70/b. The contract last settled below $70/b on April 9, S&P Global Platts data showed.

The front-month NYMEX light sweet crude contract Monday settled below $60/b for the first time since February 2018, Platts data showed.

Analysts surveyed Monday by Platts expected US commercial crude stocks to have increased by 2.38 million barrels in the week ended November 9.

If confirmed by US Energy Information Administration data due for release on Wednesday, it would mark the eighth consecutive week of increase -- the longest upward run since early 2017.

Refinery utilization in the US is also likely to post an increase, with analysts expecting a 0.83 percentage point increase to around 90.83% of total capacity. Refiners have come back from turnaround season faster than usual this year and run rates are also higher than in previous years.

Meanwhile, Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih said Monday that OPEC and its allies would need to cut 1 million b/d of crude production, reversing the hike agreed to in June, to avoid a supply glut in early 2019.

OPEC and its partners "will do what it takes" to keep the market balanced, Falih said at the ADIPEC conference in Abu Dhabi, a day after serving as co-chairman of the OPEC/non-OPEC monitoring committee meeting.

While his comments were bullish for prices, the reaction from US President Trump pushed prices lower, analysts said.

"Hopefully, Saudi Arabia and OPEC will not be cutting oil production. Oil prices should be much lower based on supply!" Trump said in a tweet at 1821 GMT Monday.

"Prices suffered a correction late in the session after US President Trump voiced his disapproval of OPEC's move," ANZ analysts said in a note Tuesday.

As of 0235 GMT, the US Dollar Index was down 0.13% at 97.405.

--Avantika Ramesh, avantika.ramesh@spglobal.com

--Edited by Wendy Wells, wendy.wells@spglobal.com