By Laila Kearney
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Crude prices edged higher on Thursday, supported by comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve chairman that lifted equity markets, but a more than week-long oil rally slowed as optimism surrounding U.S.-China trade talks faded.
West Texas Intermediate crude
Earlier in the session, both benchmarks hit their highest in nearly a month. WTI hit a session high of $52.78 per barrel and Brent rose to $61.91 a barrel.
But the rise in global markets began to dwindle after the world's two largest economies issued vaguely positive statements that lacked concrete details.
"It was a mixed message from him, but I think it was sufficiently accommodative," said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital Management. "It's a continuation of that shift towards easier policies and more assistance to the underlying economy which helped boost crude oil prices."
U.S. equity markets broadly rose after the comments. Recently crude futures have tracked closely with Wall Street.
However, investors remained worried about a potential slowdown in the global economy, with disappointing data from China overnight adding to concerns.
China's producer prices in December rose at their slowest pace in more than two years, a worrying sign of deflationary risks.
Market participants also were paying close attention to global crude supply, particularly a shale boom in the United States. U.S. crude oil production
To counter rising U.S. output, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, including Russia, reached a deal to rein in supply that officially began in January.
Barclays forecast that Brent will remain range bound at $55 to $65 per barrel as inventories build in the coming months, while it expects "the market will return to a balanced state" by the second half of 2019.
The OPEC deal had hung in the balance on concerns that Iran, whose crude exports have been depleted by U.S. sanctions, would receive no exemption and block the agreement.
U.S. oil production, drilling & storage levels: https://tmsnrt.rs/2GVNTmb
(Additional reporting by Stephanie Kelly and Scott DiSavino in New York, Noah Browning in London and Henning Gloystein in Singapore; Editing by Marguerita Choy and David Gregorio)
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)