Oil prices heading for weekly gains

Oil prices rose on Friday, heading for weekly gains, as markets awaited the OPEC+ decision on production levels in the second quarter and evaluated new economic data from the United States and China. By 0950 GMT, Brent crude futures for May delivery rose by $1.01, or 1.23%, reaching $82.92 per barrel. Crude futures for April delivery, which expired on February 29, recorded $83.62 per barrel; meanwhile, US West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery increased by 29 cents, or 1.24%, reaching $79.23.

US crude is poised for a 3.6% increase this week, while Brent crude is 1.6% higher than last week’s settlement price. Market watchers anticipate a decision regarding the extension of OPEC+ cuts in the first week of March, with each individual country expected to announce its decision. According to a Reuters survey, OPEC pumped 26.42 million barrels per day in February, up by 90,000 barrels per day from January.

Strong expectations that Saudi Arabia will maintain crude oil prices for Asian customers largely unchanged in April compared to March levels also supported the market today.

Additionally, support came from the reading of the personal consumption expenditures index in the United States, the preferred inflation measure of the Federal Reserve, which showed that inflation in January met economists’ expectations. This strengthened the market’s bets on an interest rate cut in June.

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