Oil prices edge higher amid concerns over global economy

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The markets weakened on continued concerns over a slowdown in the U.S. economy after Monday's weaker-than-expected U.S. Factory Orders report.

Brent crude futures gained 71 cents, or 1.15 percent, to settle at $62.69.

Venezuela's opposition is opening a US fund to receive the proceeds of oil sales, a key measure to secure revenue for its effort to dislodge Maduro, an opposition lawmaker said on Wednesday.

The global economic outlook and prospects for growth in fuel demand have been clouded by poor economic data in China and U.S.

The US announced sanctions on Venezuela's state oil company last week, a move that could curb supplies but the development has yet to push prices up steeply.

Markets Underpinned by Sanctions and Production Cuts...

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The January decrease was the largest in the past 12 months as Opec cut production in response to falling oil prices. Short-term, speculative buying interest is being driven by the US sanctions on Venezuela.

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"The U.S. would look elsewhere for oil imports, and refiners will adapt to it". The fund also warned trade tensions could spell further trouble.

The recent downswings in the crude oil market have been highly correlated with the release of the bearish economic data.

But weighing on markets, USA government data showed new orders for US -made goods unexpectedly fell in November, with sharp declines in demand for machinery and electrical equipment. -China trade talks and the unexpected sanctions on Venezuelan oil have been the biggest influences on prices over the short-run.

Trading proceeded at lower volumes in parts of East Asia because of the Lunar New Year holiday.

It nearly goes without saying that accompanying the sentiment will be crude analysts playing it safe by making wide-ranging predictions about market movement, for example, Ted Seifried, chief market strategist at Zaner AG Hedge, told Bloomberg television on Tuesday that "I'm wondering if crude oil backs up, has a bit of a correction - maybe we get down to, say, the $48-$40 level or so in WTI - and then we see a bounce from there.and eventually get into the mid $60s".

Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates, summarized the situation by remarking, "I think the oil market is trying to decide whether the factory orders will weigh on the price or the Venezuela and oil sanctions will support the price; as a result, we've seen the market fluctuating".

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