UPDATE 9-Oil edges up after five days of losses ahead of U.S.-China trade pact

Reuters

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    * U.S.-China trade deal due to be signed on Wednesday
    * Chinese 2019 oil imports up 9.5% from 2018 -customs data
    * Pace of record U.S. oil output growth to slow in 2021 -
EIA
    * U.S. crude stockpiles increased unexpectedly last week -
API

 (Adds prices in after hours trading, API data, paragraphs 4, 5)
    By Scott DiSavino
    NEW YORK, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Oil prices edged higher on
Tuesday after five days of declines as the United States and
China prepared to sign a preliminary trade deal and as Middle
East tensions eased.
    Brent  LCOc1  futures gained 29 cents, or 0.5%, to settle at
$64.49 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude
 CLc1  ended 15 cents, or 0.3%, higher at $58.23.
    That put WTI front-month futures below the second month
 CLc1-CLc2  for the first time since Nov. 19, a situation
traders call contango.
    Both benchmarks pared gains in post-settlement trading as
data from the American Petroleum Institute (API), an industry
group, indicated that U.S. crude stockpiles increased
unexpectedly last week.
    API data indicated U.S. crude inventories rose by about 1.1
million barrels in the week to Jan. 10. Analysts had expected a
draw of 474,000 barrels.  API/S   urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N29J3TM The U.S. Energy
Information Administration (EIA) is due to report official
government inventory data on Wednesday morning.
    Analysts said oil found technical support after WTI fell to
a five-week low of $57.72 before bouncing off the 200-day moving
average.
    The expected signing of a Phase 1 U.S.-China trade agreement
on Wednesday, marking a major step in ending a dispute that has
cut global growth and dented demand for oil. 
    "Oil prices are tentatively rebounding after seller
exhaustion kicked (in) as investors await the next developments
on the trade front and whether we see a strong pickup with
global demand following the phase-one trade deal," Edward Moya,
senior market analyst at OANDA in New York, said in a report.
    China has pledged to buy more than $50 billion in energy
supplies from the United States over the next two years,
according to a source briefed on the trade deal.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N29J03H
 urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N29J14D  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N29J2AJ
    Despite the trade dispute, China's crude oil imports surged
9.5% in 2019, setting a record for a 17th straight year as
demand growth from new refineries propelled purchases by the
world's top importer, data showed.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N29F2EY    
    Crude price gains, however, were limited as concerns about
possible supply disruptions eased due to a decline in tensions
in the Middle East.
    The recent declines came as investors unwound bullish
positions built after the recent killing of a senior Iranian
general in a U.S. air strike which sent oil prices to a
four-month high earlier this month, said Harry Tchilinguirian,
global oil strategist at BNP Paribas in London.
    In the United States, the EIA projected the pace of oil
production growth would slow to 3% in 2021, the lowest since
2016 when output declined.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N29J0WQ 

 (Additional reporting by Arathy S Nair in New York, Ron Bousso
in London and Jessica Jaganathan in Singapore; Editing by David
Goodman, Bernadette Baum and David Gregorio)
 ((scott.disavino@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223-6072; Reuters
Messaging: scott.disavino.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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