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Oil Futures Settle Modestly Lower

Crude oil prices recovered from early weakness on Monday, but still settled on a negative note, as weak global growth outlook continued to raise concerns about energy demand.

OPEC-led output cuts and U.S. sanctions on Venezuela's oil industry helped limit oil's losses. Short-covering ahead of futures expiry also contributed to oil's recovery from the day's lows. Oil futures had tumbled by about 4.6% last week.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended down $0.31, or 0.6%, at $52.41 a barrel, well off the day's low of $51.23.

Brent crude futures declined by about 1% to 61.46 a barrel.

On Friday, oil futures ended up $0.08, or 0.2%, at $52.72 a barrel.

Recent weak economic data from Eurozone and the European Commission's lower growth forecast for the euro area for 2019 and 2020 suggest a possible drop in energy demand, atleast in the short term.

Traders were also digesting data showing higher crude production in the U.S. and the latest report from Baker Hughes that said oil rigs count in the U.S. increased by 7 to 854 last week.

Meanwhile, on the trade front, a fresh round of talks began between the junior level officials from the U.S. and China in Beijing today.

Later in the week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin few other key officials are scheduled to travel to Beijing to continue trade negotiations.

Last week, U.S. President Trump had ruled out meeting the Chinese President Xi Jinping anytime before the expiry of March 1 deadline.

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