Investing.com - Oil prices were little changed on Friday in Asia as investors awaited a new catalyst, either a breakthrough in U.S.-Sino trade talks or another impactful number on Saudi production cuts, to take the market higher.
New York-traded Crude Oil WTI Futures slipped 0.02% to 52.58 after hitting a new 2019 high at $52.70 on Thursday.
London-traded Brent Oil Futures, the global oil benchmark, was down 0.2% at $61.53 after rising to $61.91 earlier, also the highest so far for this year.
Brent and WTI are set for weekly gains of more than 7% and 8% respectively.
"The bulls are trying to keep it together and waiting for the next big driver to emerge," said Gene McGillian, director of energy research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, *Connecticut*.
Oil prices received some support this week after Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih vowed to rebalance the market. He said the kingdom was pumping approximately 800,000 barrels fewer a day from a record high of 10.2 million barrels per day in November.
“Oil has had a good rally as Saudi Arabia’s willingness to move forward with cutting output was clearly delivered to the market,” said Hong Sungki, a commodities trader at NH Investment & Securities Co. in Seoul. “But the trade negotiations between the U.S. and China still add some uncertainty to global financial and oil markets, possibly leading to corrections in prices in the shorter term.”
The two countries concluded the latest round of trade talks on Wednesday. While no deal has been reached yet, both sides said they had agreed to continue to keep in close contact, while U.S. President Donald Trump said the U.S. was having "tremendous success" in its trade negotiations with China.
Following this week’s discussions, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He may visit Washington later in January.