Published: Mon, December 11, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

Oil prices steady as Chinese demand counters stronger…

Oil prices steady as Chinese demand counters stronger…

Brent crude futures, the worldwide benchmark for oil prices, were down 15 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $63.25 a barrel.

West Texas Intermediate for January delivery was at $57.13 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 23 cents, at 10:04 London.

Oil prices were stable on Friday as the weight of a strengthening US dollar was countered by China's relentless thirst for crude and the OPEC-led supply cuts that have gradually tightened the market this year.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, meanwhile, said healthy global demand and tight supplies should see Brent crude oil rise to $70 per barrel by mid-year.

LONDON, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Oil markets edged lower on Monday as ongoing output cuts led by OPEC were countered by rising us drilling activity that points to a further increase in American production.

But the report showed that product inventories increased, with gasoline up 6.8 million barrels to 220.9 million, 3.8 percent below last year's level, and distillates up 1.7 million barrels to 129.4 million, a year-on-year decline of 17.4 percent.

Both Brent and WTI crude oil settled more than 1 percent higher on Friday, and oil prices have gained well over a third in value from their 2017 lows.

China's crude oil imports rose to 37.04 million tonnes in November, or 9.01 million barrels per day (bpd), the second highest on record, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Friday.

Drillers added two oil rigs in the week to December 8, bringing the total count up to 751, the highest level since September, General Electric Co's Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday.

Oil slipped to near $57 a barrel as USA drilling expanded and OPEC nations Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates signaled they can phase out production cuts if the market improves. The OPEC countries, supported by large non-OPEC producers, are trying to rebalance the oil market and quote the raw material at stable and higher levels. "That means we will come up with a strategy", he said in Abu Dhabi.

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