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Crude Oil Futures Settle Higher Again

Crude oil prices edged higher on Thursday, extending gains to a fourth successive session, riding on recent data that showed a drop in U.S. crude inventories last week.

Ongoing supply cuts led by OPEC as well as the U.S. sanctions against Venezuela and Iran also offered some support.

However, uncertainty about a U.S.-China trade deal before the end of this month limited oil's uptick.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended up $0.35, or 0.6%, at $58.61 a barrel, a fresh high since mid-November.

On Wednesday, crude oil futures for April ended up $1.39, or 2.4%, at $58.26 a barrel, the highest settlement in four months.

The Energy Information Administration report on Wednesday showed that U.S. crude inventories fell by 3.9 million barrels in the week to March 8.

Earlier this week, the American Petroleum Institute reported that U.S. crude stocks had fallen in the previous week.

The OPEC-led output cuts since the start of the year and Saudi Arabia's decision to reduce crude exports are expected to tighten global crude supply and prop up prices.

In Venezuela, oil production and exports have been disrupted by a political and economic crisis that has caused massive blackouts and supply shortages.

On the trade front, a report from Bloomberg said a meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping has been pushed back.

Citing three people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg said the meeting to sign an agreement to end the U.S.-China trade war won't occur this month and is more likely to happen in April at the earliest.

The report from Bloomberg comes after Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he is in "no rush" to complete a trade deal with China.

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