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Expectations Of NAFTA Breakthrough Send Oil Prices Higher

Following a week of gains that snapped a seven-week losing streak for WTI, oil prices traded slightly higher at 9:00 a.m. EDT on Monday, wiping out earlier losses as they were supported by expectations of a breakthrough in the U.S.-Mexican talks on NAFTA and lower U.S. rig count, but pulled to the downside by the U.S.-China trade war.

At 09:08 a.m. EDT on Monday, WTI Crude was up 0.03 percent at $68.74, while Brent Crude was inching up 0.17 percent at $76.26, as investors looked for possible clues about the state of the oil market from a conference call of a monitoring committee of the OPEC+ deal.

Various factors are pulling oil prices in both directions, and trading was also subdued on Monday due to the summer bank holiday in the UK.

On Friday, oil prices rose after Baker Hughes reported a 13-rig decrease to the number of active oil and gas rigs in the United States. Oil and gas rigs fell to 1,044, according to the report, with the number of active oil rigs falling by 9 and the number of gas rigs falling by 4.

The decline in the rig count, coupled with a major draw in crude oil inventories of 5.8 million barrels for the week to August 17, sent oil prices steadily up last week to end almost two months of consecutive weekly losses.

On Monday, the possible breakthrough in U.S.-Mexico discussions on NAFTA boosted investor sentiment, but concerns persisted over the pace of the global economic growth as a result of the U.S.-China trade war, where no breakthroughs emerged last week.

“Falling U.S. rig counts and last week’s decline in U.S. inventories are supporting oil prices amid a protracted U.S.-China trade war that could dampen global growth and weigh on oil demand,” Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage OANDA in Singapore, said, as quoted by Reuters.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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