Oil prices post highest weekly gains

Oil prices post highest weekly gains”

Oil prices fell on Friday as global markets weakened following North Korea's latest missile launch, but crude remained close to five-month highs reached this week on bullish demand forecasts and United States refineries restarting.

That was followed by a report by the International Energy Agency saying the global oil glut was shrinking thanks to strong European and USA demand, as well as production declines in OPEC and non-OPEC countries.

US West Texas Intermediate crude settled unchanged at US$49.89 a barrel. The contract posted a 5.1% weekly gain, also its strongest in almost two months.

The contract was on track for its third straight weekly gain and the highest weekly rise since the end of July.

The IEA's report came a day after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said production in August fell by 79,000 barrels a day (bpd) to 32.76 million as falling production from Venezuela, Iraq, the UAE and Saudi Arabia offset rising output from Nigeria.

On the data front, the number of rigs operating in US oil fields fell by seven to a total of 756 rigs this week, according to data released by oilfield service firm Baker Hughes on Friday.

Crude oil inventories rose by last week, the EIA said.

Additionally, approximately 50 percent of total US working crude oil storage capacity and more than 40 percent of working storage capacity for both motor gasoline and diesel fuel is located in the gulf region. The largest USA refinery, Motiva Enterprises plant in Port Arthur, Texas, was at half its full capacity, the company said Wednesday.

The report said global oil demand grew very strongly year-on-year in the second quarter of 2017, by 2.4 percent.

"We remain convinced of longer-term upside to crude prices".

They maintained their 2018 and 2019 Brent price assumptions at US$65 and US$70 a barrel, respectively.

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