Oil advances on optimism sparked by historic U.S.-China trade agreement

By Sheela Tobben on 1/16/2020

NEW YORK (Bloomberg) - Oil rose to the highest in more than a week as the preliminary trade truce between the U.S. and China fanned optimism about economic growth.

Futures rose as much as 1.4% in New York. Under the settlement between the world’s largest economies, China pledged to increase purchases of U.S. commodities. The landmark deal helped fuel a record-setting rally in American equities.

The trade deal “was clearly supportive,” said Michael Hiley, head of OTC energy trading with LPS Partners.

West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery advanced 64 cents to $58.45 a barrel at 10:48 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange after earlier rising the most since Jan. 8.

Brent for March settlement rose 59 cents to $64.59 on the ICE Futures Europe exchange. The global benchmark crude traded at a $6.18 premium to WTI for the same month.

China pledged $52.4 billion of additional purchases of American energy this year and next, although it didn’t say whether it would lift a retaliatory 5% tariff on U.S. crude. The Asian nation, whose oil imports from the U.S. peaked at 14.7 million barrels in January 2018, would need to boost purchases to 21.9 million barrels a month this year and 36.2 million barrels in 2021 to fulfill the pledge.

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