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Oil Jumps on Christmas Eve as Russia, Trump Rehash Deal Talk

Published 12/24/2019, 01:00 PM
Updated 12/24/2019, 01:03 PM
© Reuters.

Investing.com – It’s the same things the market has heard all month and hearing them again on Christmas Eve presumably did not hurt. Oil prices hit 3-½ month highs on Tuesday on Russia’s pledge to honor production cuts promised to OPEC and President Donald Trump’s reiteration of an imminent China deal.

Brent, the global oil benchmark, rose 71 cents, or 1.1%, to $67.10 by 12:38 PM ET (17:38 GMT). It earlier hit $67.25 – its highest since mid-September – as the bulls’ push amid thin trading volumes exaggerated the market’s move.

West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. crude benchmark, was up 47 cents, or 0.8%, at $60.99 per barrel.

Crude prices rose after news reports quoted Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak as saying on Tuesday that Moscow and OPEC will continue their cooperation on oil production cuts as long as it is "effective and brings results."

Just a day earlier, Novak appeared to sing a different tune, saying the OPEC+ alliance that includes Russia may consider easing output restrictions at its March meeting.

“We can consider any options, including gradual easing of quotas, including continuation of the deal,” Novak told Russia’s RBC TV in an interview recorded last week and aired on Monday. He also said Russia’s oil output was set to hit a record high this year.

The Saudi-controlled OPEC and other oil-producing nations led by Russia announced earlier this month plans to deepen existing output cuts of 1.2 million barrels per day to as much as 2.1 million bpd, or 2.1% of world supply, in the first quarter of 2020.

Tuesday’s rally in oil also came after Trump told reporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla. that there will be a signing ceremony to formalize the first phase of the U.S.-China trade deal that was negotiated earlier this month. He did not give a date.

Trump has been touting the phase one deal in tweets and off-the-cuffs remarks since Dec. 13 when both sides said they had reached an understanding in principle for a deal. China has given out very little information since that announcement, saying it will announce the details at the signing – whenever it happens.

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