Oil prices extend early-year charge higher as market eyes trade-talk progress, supply

Oil prices headed for a fifth straight day of gains Monday, with last week’s upbeat sentiment on supply restraint and softening concern for a weaker U.S. economy carrying over to a new week.

Oil futures on Friday scored their first weekly gain in a month as renewed trade talks set for this week between the U.S. and China and upbeat jobs numbers issued Friday calmed recession worries, helping to lift prices to their highest finish since mid-December.

West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery CLG9, +2.13% added 94 cents, or 1.9%, to $48.90 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The front-month contract rose 5.8% for last week, according to Dow Jones Market Data. Front-month WTI crude futures, however, had dropped by 24.8% in 2018.

Global benchmark March Brent crude UK:LCOG9 added 90 cents, or 1.6%, to $57.96 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. The contract settled up about 7.2% for last week. The international benchmark finished last year with a loss of 19.5%.

Oil demand optimism was lifted as senior officials from China unexpectedly attended negotiations between Beijing and their counterparts in Washington, in an effort to resolve longstanding trade disagreements that have underpinned uncertainty in global markets. According to Bloomberg, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, a top economic adviser to Chinese President Xi Jinping, was among attendees, and some optimism has been drawn from the a top level official attended rather than lower-ranking officials.

Crude prices had plummeted in the fourth quarter by roughly 40% from four-year highs reached at the start of October, weighed down by a supply glut and fears of slowing global demand.

More recently, price support has come as separate surveys showed that December crude output from major producers saw their biggest monthly declines since January 2017.

Further, much-awaited data from the Energy

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