The logo of Opec at the producer cartel’s headquarters in Vienna, Austria. Picture: REUTERS/LEONHARD FOEGER
The logo of Opec at the producer cartel’s headquarters in Vienna, Austria. Picture: REUTERS/LEONHARD FOEGER

London — Oil prices jumped more than 5% on Monday after the US and China agreed to a 90-day truce in a trade dispute, and ahead of a meeting this week of the producer club Opec that is expected to agree to cut supply.

US light crude oil rose $2.92 a barrel to a high of $53.85, up 5.7%, before easing slightly to around $53.50 by 8.30am GMT. Brent crude rose 5.3% or $3.14 to a high of $62.60 and was last trading at about $63.15.

China and the US agreed during a weekend meeting in Argentina of the Group of 20 (G20) leading economies not to impose additional trade tariffs for at least 90 days while they hold talks to resolve existing disputes.

The trade war between the world’s two biggest economies has weighed heavily on global trade, sparking concerns of an economic slowdown.

Crude oil has not been included in the list of hundreds of products that each side has slapped with import tariffs, but traders said the positive sentiment of the truce was also driving crude markets.

“The agreement to keep talking for 90 days during which tariffs are paused is an upside surprise,” US bank Morgan Stanley said in a note to clients on Monday. It added, though, that trade negotiations would be “bumpy”.

Overall, Morgan Stanley said it saw a “slight upside in our 2019 growth outlook” because of the renewed talks.

Oil also received support from an announcement by the Canadian province of Alberta that it would force producers to cut output by 8.7%, or 325,000 barrels per day (bpd), to deal with a pipeline bottleneck that has led to crude building up in storage. Most of Alberta's oil is exported to the US.

Oil cartel Opec meets on December 6 to decide output policy. The group, along with nonOpec member Russia, is expected to announce cuts aimed at reining in a production surplus that has pulled down crude prices by around a third since October.

"Markets are expecting to see a substantial production cut after Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country's co-operation on oil supplies with Saudi Arabia would continue,” Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at futures brokerage FXTM, said.

Meanwhile, Qatar said on Monday that it would leave Opec in January.

Qatar’s oil production is only about 600,000 barrels per day, but it is the world's biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The Gulf state has also been at loggerheads with its much bigger neighbour, Saudi Arabia, the de facto Opec leader.

Outside Opec, Russian oil output stood at 11.37-million bpd in November, down from a post-Soviet record of 11.41-million bpd it reached in October, energy ministry data showed on Sunday.

Meanwhile, oil producers in the US continue to churn out record amounts of oil, with crude output at an unprecedented level of more than 11.5-million bpd.

With drilling activity still high, most analysts expect US oil production to rise further in 2019.



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