Singapore — Crude oil futures were steady to marginally lower during mid-morning trade in Asia Thursday after a bearish report on US crude inventory and ahead of the resumption of US-China trade talks later in the day.
At 10:35 am in Singapore (0235 GMT), ICE Brent December futures were down 11 cents/b (0.19%) from Wednesday's settle at $58.21/b, while the NYMEX November light sweet crude futures contract was 13 cents/b (0.25%) lower at $52.46/b.
US commercial crude stocks rose 2.73 million barrels to 425.57 million barrels in the week ended October 4, Energy Information Administration data released late Wednesday showed.
Analysts surveyed Monday by S&P Global Platts had been expecting a 2.4 million-barrel build
US crude production averaged a record 12.6 million b/d in the week as US net imports of crude oil fell to levels not seen since February, the EIA data showed.
While markets digested this bearish report, all eyes were turning to the resumption of trade talks between the US and China scheduled in Washington later Thursday.
"Updates on US-China trade keeps its grip on markets as we await the commencement of trade talks," IG market strategist Pan Jingyi said.
According to media reports, Chinese delegation head Vice Premier Liu He plans to leave Washington after just one day of minister-level meetings, although the White House was quoted as denying this.
"With global risk appetite caught between the crosswinds of US-China trade tensions and other headlines, Asian markets may again trade with a cautious tone today," OCBC Bank analysts said in a note Thursday.
"Low expectations for any breakthrough in Thursday's talks one to drive markets," Jingyi said.
As of 0235 GMT, the US Dollar Index was down 0.13% at 98.71.
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