Oil prices steady as OPEC supply cuts remain in focus

Oil prices steadied on Monday following report from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which revealed that the group‘s output fell by 751,000 barrels to 31.6 million barrels a day in December.

In other news, supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries continued to offer support for oil prices.

Reuters said on Monday, citing researchers at Bernstein Energy, that the supply cuts led by OPEC “will move the market back into supply deficit” for most of 2019 and that “this should allow oil prices to rise to $70 per barrel before year-end from current levels of U.S.$60 per barrel.”

Meanwhile in Asia, prices of crude also remained steady after official data showed China’s economic slowdown was in line with expectations and not as sharp as some analysts had feared.

China’s economy grew 6.4% in the fourth quarter of 2018 from a year earlier, as expected, official data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Monday.

In 2018, the country’s economic growth came in at 6.6%, also in line with expectations.

Oil prices firmed following the release of the data, with Brent Oil Futures traded at $62.83 per barrel at 1:06 AM ET (06:06 GMT), up 0.2% from their last close, while Crude Oil WTI futures were at $54.2 a barrel, up 0.3%.

Oil futures rallied around 3% on Friday following reports suggesting both countries were considering concessions ahead of a Washington visit from Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Jan. 30 and 31 for talks aimed at resolving the ongoing trade standoff between the two countries.

Elsewhere, Baker Hughes reported Friday that the number of domestic rigs drilling for oil fell by 21 to 852 in the week to Jan. 11.

It was the third straight weekly decline in the rig count and the largest weekly drop since February 2016, suggesting a slowdown in domestic crude production.