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Oil slips as lack of U.S.-China trade talk progress frays investor nerves

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By Reuters
Oil slips as lack of U.S.-China trade talk progress frays investor nerves
FILE PHOTO: Pump jacks operate at sunset in an oil field in Midland, Texas U.S. August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Nick Oxford   -   Copyright  Nick Oxford(Reuters)

By Seng Li Peng

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – U.S. oil prices fell for the second straight day on Tuesday amid market jitters over limited progress between China and the United States on rolling back trade tariffs, exacerbated by a rise in U.S. inventories.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude <CLc1> fell 10 cents or 0.18% to $56.95 a barrel by 0148 GMT, falling again from an eight-week high hit last Friday when hopes for the trade deal rose.

Brent crude futures <LCOc1> were down 12 cents, or 0.19%, at $62.32.

A Chinese government source was quoted by broadcaster CNBC on Monday as saying there was gloom in Beijing about prospects for a trade deal, with Chinese officials troubled by U.S. President Donald Trump’s comment that there was no agreement on phasing out tariffs.

“We had reports overnight that the mood in Beijing was pessimistic,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at brokerage CMC Markets in Sydney. “The lack of announcement is really concerning for the demand outlook … the market is very nervous about the trade talks.”

The lingering trade battle that has seen the world’s two biggest economies impose tit-for-tat tariffs on each other has hit global growth prospects and clouded the outlook for future oil demand.

Meanwhile a preliminary Reuters poll on Monday showing U.S. crude oil stockpile were seen rising for the fourth straight week also squeezed prices.

“Unless we get further concrete signs of global growth rally or an extension in production cuts by OPEC+ (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and associated producers including Russia), WTI will struggle to attempt to recapture the $60-a-barrel mark,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York.

(Reporting by Seng Li Peng; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)