Oil futures soared for the second day in a row on Friday, ending at a three-week high as investors continued to cover short positions after Saudi Arabia’s oil minister hinted that the kingdom could be open to discussions next month aimed at stabilizing the market.
Crude pared some gains after a report showed the number of U.S. oil rigs rose for the seventh straight week, underling concerns over a global supply glut.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for delivery in September rose to an intraday peak of $44.78 a barrel, the most since July 22. It closed the day at $44.49, up $1.00, or 2.3%.
For the week, New York-traded oil futures rallied $2.69, or 6.04%, the largest weekly gain since April.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for October delivery jumped $1.15, or 2.5%, on Friday to settle at $46.97 a barrel by close of trade. It touched a daily high of $47.25, a level not seen since July 21.
On the week, London-traded Brent futures tacked on $2.70, or 5.74%, marking the best weekly gain in over four months.
Crude futures spiked nearly 5% on Thursday as investors returned to the market to cover short positions after Saudi Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih said OPEC members and non-members would discuss potential action to stabilize oil prices during a meeting next month in Algeria.
OPEC announced that the 14-member bloc will meet on the sidelines of an energy conference in Algeria from September 26-28, reviving the idea of a coordinated production cap.
However, market players remained skeptical that the meeting would result in any concrete actions to freeze output. An attempt to jointly freeze production levels earlier this year failed after Saudi Arabia backed out over Iran’s refusal to take part of the initiative.
Indications of an ongoing recovery in U.S. drilling activity kept a lid on oil prices. According to oilfield services provider Baker Hughes, the number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. last week increased by 15 to 396, the seventh consecutive weekly rise and the 10th increase in 11 weeks.
Oil prices have recovered since U.S. crude fell below $40 last week, but are still more than 12% below their recent peak in June.
Despite recent gains, elevated stocks of fuel products amid slowing global demand growth is expected to keep prices under further pressure in the near-term.
In the week ahead, oil traders will be focusing on U.S. stockpile data on Tuesday and Wednesday for fresh supply-and-demand signals.
Market players will also continue to monitor supply disruptions across the world for further indications on the rebalancing of the market.
Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.
Tuesday, August 16
The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, is to publish its weekly report on U.S. oil supplies.
Wednesday, August 17
The U.S. Energy Information Administration is to release its weekly report on oil and gasoline stockpiles.
Friday, August 19
Baker Hughes will release weekly data on the U.S. oil rig count.
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