Futures Movers: Oil weaker but pares decline

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Oil futures remained under pressure Tuesday, but trimmed earlier losses, after Chinese officials were quoted making positive remarks about a partial U.S.-China trade deal.

West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery CLZ19, -0.07%  on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 34 cents, or 0.5%, to $53.25 a barrel, while December Brent crude BRNZ19, +0.07%  was off 33 cents, or 0.6%, at $59.02 a barrel.

Analysts said earlier losses were pared after some positive noises out of Beijing on trade. China’s foreign ministry spokesman said China and the U.S. are “on the same page and have no difference in the stance on reaching a trade deal.”

Oil fell Monday as doubts emerged over the trade agreement touted by President Donald Trump at the end of last week due to a lack of detail and after reports China wanted further talks before completing the agreement.

Analysts said upside on trade optimism may be limited barring further movement on U.S. – China import tariffs which have been blamed for slowing global economic growth and lowering oil demand.

“U.S.-China discussions seem to have made some progress, and the prospect of a genuine truce has risen. But unless there’s a shift to unwind existing tariffs and lifting of the U.S. export ban on Huawei, there’s little reason to start popping the champagne corks just yet,” said Stephen Innes, market strategist at AxiTrader, in a note. “And of course, it’s far too early to begin pricing in a global growth recovery although that optionality is cheap as chips.”

In other energy trading, November gasoline RBX19, +0.37%  edged 0.1% higher to $1.6145 a gallon, while November heating oil HOX19, +0.27%  rose 0.3% to $1.9199 a gallon.

November natural-gas futures NGX19, +1.54%  rose 0.5% to $2.292 per million British thermal units.