Oil rises on China plan to boost U.S. imports, OPEC+ compliance

FILE PHOTO: The sun is seen behind a crude oil pump jack in the Permian Basin in Loving County

By Laura Sanicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices settled higher on Monday, as OPEC+ producers almost fully complied in July with their global production cut accord, and after U.S. officials said China is in compliance with the first phase of the two nations’ trade deal.

Brent crude <LCOc1> settled up 57 cents, or 1.3%, to $45.87 a barrel, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude <CLc1> was up 88 cents, or 2.1 %, to $42.41 a barrel.

Compliance with OPEC+ oil output cuts is seen at around 97% in July, two OPEC+ sources told Reuters. The oil-producing nations have been cutting output by record levels to curb supply and reduce worldwide inventories.

China is living up to its end of the trade deal the two parties signed in January, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday, even though the nation has fallen short so far of promised purchases of U.S. products.

Chinese state-owned oil firms have tentatively booked tankers to transport at least 20 million barrels of U.S. crude for August and September.

“There’s indications of demand picking up in China…we are not in a bull market by a long run but the demand story in China really seems to be what the market is focusing on,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital in New York.

Investors are waiting on Wednesday’s ministerial OPEC+ committee, known as the JMMC, that will review compliance with the global oil supply reduction pact, although no change in the agreement is expected.

In August, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies known as OPEC+ eased its agreed cuts to 7.7 million barrels per day (bpd) from 9.7 million bpd previously. Later-dated Brent futures contracts suggest traders see inventories remaining high in coming months due to weakened demand.

Last week the U.S. Energy Information Administration adjusted global oil demand downward, suggesting a smaller than previously expected reduction in global inventories.

Graphic: Demand/supply balance https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/xklvydwbrpg/dsbalance2020.JPG

(Reporting by Laura Sanicola in New York, additional reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin, Florence Tan in Singapore; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Chizu Nomiyama)