Oil headed for a second weekly gain on forecasts for accelerating crude demand and as US Gulf Coast refineries continued to recover from Hurricane Harvey.
Futures were little changed in New York, up 4.8 percent for the week, after trading Thursday above 50 dollars for the first time in five weeks and closing at the highest since July. OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) and the International Energy Agency boosted demand forecasts, signalling the global surplus that has weighed on prices may decline further. US refiners are resuming operations after Harvey shuttered almost a quarter of the nation’s capacity.
While oil has rebounded the past two weeks, prices in New York have struggled to hold above 50 dollars a barrel this year as rising US output stifles supply curbs led by members of OPEC. The group and its allies are discussing extending those cuts past the end of March by more than three months as the global glut drains slower than expected.
West Texas Intermediate for October delivery was at 49.73 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 16 cents, at 8:08 a.m. in Hong Kong. Total volume traded was about 76 percent below the 100-day average. Prices rose 59 cents, or 1.2 percent, to close at 49.89 dollars on Thursday, the highest since July 31. The contract climbed as high as 50.50 dollars during intraday trade.
Brent for November settlement lost 20 cents to 55.27 dollars a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract added 31 cents, or 0.6 percent, to 55.47 dollars on Thursday. The global benchmark traded at a premium of 5.06 dollars to November WTI. – Bloomberg