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Oil Futures Settle Lower Ahead Of Inventory Data, OPEC Meet

Crude oil futures failed to hold earlier gains and settled lower on Wednesday, with traders weighing the prospects of future demand for crude and the quantum of production cut that may be announced by the OPEC after the meeting in Vienna on December 6.

The American Petroleum Institute reported late Tuesday that the U.S. crude inventories rose by 5.4 million barrels in the week ended November 30. Traders now look ahead to the official inventory data from the Energy Information Administration, due on Thursday morning.

With regard to U.S.-China trade disputes, there is skepticism about the truce between the two countries, although the Chinese Commerce Ministry said today that the weekend meeting between Trump and Xi was very successful and the working groups of the two states will actively hold consultations for 90 days in accordance with the agreement and the road map.

Uncertainty about the outlook for global economic growth and Brexit also weighed on crude oil.

Crude oil futures for January ended down $0.36, or 0.7%, at $52.89 a barrel, after rising to 54.42 a barrel earlier in the session.

On Tuesday, crude oil futures ended up $0.30, or 0.6%, at $53.25 a barrel.

OPEC oil ministers are scheduled to meet on Thursday (December 6) to decide on production cut to prevent a supply glut. Meanwhile, the U.S. President Donald Trump has reportedly tweeted : "Hopefully Opec will be keeping oil flows as is, not restricted. The World does not want to see, or need, higher oil prices!"

Data released by the Energy Information Administration last Wednesday showed U.S. crude stockpiles to have increased for a tenth successive week, and analysts expect the upcoming data from EIA to show another weekly increase in U.S. crude inventories.

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