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Oil prices set for first annual decline since 2015-

Oil prices climbed on the last trading day of the year on Monday, taking a cue from firmer stock markets, but were on track for the first yearly decline in three years amid concerns of a persistent supply glut.

Hints of progress on a possible U.S.-China trade deal helped bolster sentiment, which has been battered by concerns over a weaker global economic outlook.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 – the international benchmark for oil prices – rose 42 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $53.63 a barrel by 0250 GMT. Brent declined nearly 20 percent in 2018 following two years of growth.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $45.65 a barrel, up 32 cents, or 0.7 percent, from their last close. WTI is down about 24 percent this year.

Crude prices have been closely tracking equity markets during volatile trading for both asset classes last week.

“Investors are looking for bargains in an illiquid market (today)… If Trump gets over trade issues with China expect economic demand to surge,” said Jonathan Barratt, chief investment officer at Probis Securities in Sydney.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he had a “long and very good call” with Chinese President Xi Jinping and that a possible trade deal between the United States and China was progressing well. is still the best bet for global economic growth. Anything that severely pinches China will inevitably hurt global growth and, as a consequence, oil consumption,” said Sukrit Vijayakar, director of energy consultancy Trifecta.

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