* Oil demand may rise by less than 1 mln bpd in 2019 - JBC Energy
* Russia's Putin, Saudi King ready to continue energy cooperation
* Iran's oil exports rise in early 2019-sources
(New throughout, updates prices, market activity and comments to settlement)
By Laila Kearney
NEW YORK, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Oil prices were mixed on Tuesday as
concerns about global crude oil demand and uncertainty over the latest
round of U.S.-China trade talks countered investor optimism around
Brent crude slipped 5 cents to settle at $66.45 a barrel,
hovering below its 2019 high of $66.83 reached on Monday. U.S. crude
was up 50 cents to $56.09 a barrel, its highest since November 2018.
Washington's sanctions on oil out of Venezuela, a top supplier of
sour crude to the United States, has helped support U.S. futures
prices, said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.
"Some of those sour grades are lifting the WTI... That seems
to be the situation short term," Flynn said.
In the bigger picture, "I think the market is looking for an
excuse to follow through on the breakout, but there are still a lot of
questions surrounding the U.S.-China trade deal" and the global
economy, he said.
A fresh round of talks aimed at resolving the trade dispute
between the United States and China began on Tuesday in Washington,
with higher-level discussions planned for later in the week.
Traders said they were cautious about taking large new positions
before the outcome of the talks.
In a red flag about the economic outlook, Europe's biggest bank
HSBC warned it may delay some investments this year as it missed
2018 profit forecasts due to slowing growth in China and Britain.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) last
week lowered its forecast for growth in world oil demand in 2019 to
1.24 million barrels per day. Some analysts believe it could be weaker.
"Given a continuously uncertain economic picture, our already
relatively bearish outlook for 2019 of below 1 million bpd in global
oil demand growth may be subject to further downwards revisions,"
analysts at JBC Energy wrote.
To stop a build-up of inventories that could weigh on prices,
OPEC+, which includes members of the producer group and allies like
Russia, began a new supply cut of 1.2 million bpd on Jan. 1. The cuts
have helped crude rise more than 20 percent.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al
Saud of Saudi Arabia, OPEC's de facto leader, said they supported
continued coordination on the global energy markets, the Kremlin said
on Tuesday. Investors said the statement eased doubts that Russia
would stick to the pact.
U.S. sanctions against exporters Iran and Venezuela have also
supported oil prices.
Venezuela is a major crude supplier to U.S. refineries. Iran's
exports, while down steeply since sanctions began in November, have
risen in early 2019, according to tanker data and sources.
(Additional reporting by Alex Lawler in London, Henning Gloystein and
Colin Packham; Editing by Dale Hudson, Marguerita Choy and David Gregorio)
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