Crude oil futures were largely stable during mid-morning trade in Asia Tuesday amid expectations of a draw in US crude stocks and as the market awaits fresh developments in the US-China trade talks. At 10:20 am Singapore time (0220 GMT), ICE January Brent crude futures had inched down 1 cent/b (0.02%) from Monday’s settle to $63.64/b, while the front-month NYMEX January light sweet crude contract was 2 cents/b (0.03%) lower at $57.99/b.
Analysts surveyed Monday by S&P Global Platts expect US crude stocks to be down 600,000 barrels in data for the week ended November 22 that is due for release in coming days. Crude inventories typically begin to fall by mid- to late November as refiners complete autumn maintenance, boosting demand for crude, analysts said.
For refined products, the analysts polled by Platts expected US gasoline inventories to have risen by 1.6 million barrels and distillate inventories to have risen by 1.7 million barrels in the week. Preliminary US inventory data is due for release by the American Petroleum Institute later Tuesday and more definitive numbers by the US Energy Information Administration on Wednesday.
Traders were also keeping a close eye on developments in the US-China trade talks after a top decision-making body in China called for the country to strengthen protections for intellectual property — which was widely deemed an encouraging sign for its trade talks with the US. “In the absence of a definite trade deal timeline or a proposed tariff rollback, prices may remain supported but not necessarily surge higher,” AxiTrader chief Asia market strategist Stephen Innes said in a note.
ANZ analysts in a note: “Traders also have one eye on the next OPEC meeting. This gained some attention after the OPEC+ Joint Ministerial Committee moved the meeting to December 5 in Vienna. This was originally the date set for the first day of bi-annual OPEC meeting, which will now be on December 6.”