Oil prices edge higher despite global economic worries

SYDNEY: Oil prices edged higher for the first time in three sessions on Wednesday, although concerns over the outlook for the global economy capped gains.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $53.74 per barrel at 0153 GMT, up 8 cents from their last settlement. They closed down 1.7 per cent on Tuesday.
International Brent crude oil futures were at $62.05 per barrel, up 7 cents, after closing down 0.8 per cent in the previous session.
Global economic worries have weighed on market sentiment in recent days, offsetting support from signs that global supplies are tightening. With a nervous market, traders are focused on the US State of the Union address by President Donald Trump.
“Anything out of the State of the Union that hints at the US-China deal not working out, or more anti-trade rhetoric would be a negative for energy prices as demand would be lower if global growth keeps being downgraded,” said Alfonso Esparza senior market analyst, OANDA.
US sanctions on Venezuela have been viewed as supportive for prices by helping tighten global supplies. A flotilla loaded with Venezuelan oil has formed in the Gulf of Mexico, some holding cargoes bought ahead of the latest US sanctions on Venezuela and others whose buyers are weighing who to pay.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, including Russia, agreed to production cuts effective from last month to beat back supply growth.
However, the US crude stocks rose last week even as refineries boosted output, while gasoline and distillate stocks increased, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday. — Reuters