Reuters: Oil prices fall as investors seek clarity on U.S.-China trade deal

09:00, 16 December 2019
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Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 fell 22 cents, or 0.3% to $65.00 a barrel by 0400 GMT, while West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 was down 23 cents or 0.4% to $59.84 a barrel, Reuters said.

The United States and China cooled long-simmering trade tensions on Friday, announcing a "phase one" agreement that reduces some U.S. tariffs in exchange for what U.S. officials said would be a big jump in Chinese purchases of American farm products and other goods.

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The Friday agreement averted additional tariffs on Chinese goods totaling $160 billion that the United States was set to impose over the weekend, but investors remained cautious as they awaited precise details of how the trade deal would work.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Sunday the deal will nearly double U.S. exports to China over the next two years and is "totally done" despite the need for translation and revisions to its text.

China's State Council's customs tariff commission said on Sunday that it has suspended additional tariffs on some U.S. goods that were meant to be implemented on December 15.

Data from China on Monday that showed industrial output and retail sales growth accelerating more than expected in November did offer some support for oil prices.

Still, investors remained cautious as growth in China is expected to slow further next year, with the government likely to set its economic growth target at around 6% in 2020 compared with this year's 6-6.5%.

Brent has rallied this year, supported by efforts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia to cut production.

The alliance, known as OPEC+, has agreed to lower supply a further 500,000 barrels per day as of January 1, which could boost oil prices.

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