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Crude Oil Futures Gain For 9th Straight Session

Crude oil futures ended higher on Thursday, extending gains to a ninth successive session, the longest winning streak in about nine years, with recent reports showing declines in crude output from OPEC and other major producers.

Besides expectations that the OPEC-led production cut will help ease concerns about a supply glut, hopes that positive developments out of U.S.-China trade talks will help allay fears about energy demand drove oil prices higher in recent sessions.

The three-day trade negotiations between U.S. and Chinese officials at Beijing concluded yesterday, reportedly with no significant breakthroughs, but crude oil futures still managed to extend gains amid hopes the two nations will continue to strive for a trade agreement before the expiry of the 90-day truce agreed to by Donald Trump and Xi Jinping in early December during the G20 Summit. Gains, however, were just modest today.

Crude oil futures ended $0.23, or 0.4%, at $52.59 a barrel, recovering from a low of $51.38.

On Wednesday, crude oil futures ended up $2.58, or 5.2%, at $52.36 a barrel.

The U.S. Trade Representative's office said in a statement that officials from U.S. and China discussed "ways to achieve fairness, reciprocity and balance in trade relations".

China's ministry of commerce said that the negotiations were "extensive, deep and meticulous" without offering specifics.

A report released by the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday showed U.S. crude oil stockpiles fell by 1.7 million barrels in the week to January 4, compared with analysts' expectations for a decrease of 2.8 million barrel. At the same time, gasoline and distillate inventories rose more than expected.

Meanwhile, U.S. bank Morgan Stanley lowered its oil price forecast for 2019, citing weak global economic growth expectations and rising oil supply from the United States.

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