Oil futures edged higher Friday, finding support as investors weighed the outlook for supply from Russia as production cuts kick in, while also gauging the outlook for Chinese demand.
The U.S. benchmark was trading nearly 18% below the level seen just ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a year ago.
Read:Why U.S. fuel prices continue to feel the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery
rose 27 cents, or 0.4%, to $75.66 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after snapping a seven-day losing streak in the Thursday session. The U.S. benchmark was on track for a 1.2% weekly fall.
April Brent crude
the global benchmark, rose 36 cents, or 0.4%, to $82.57 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. May Brent
the most actively traded contract, was up 39 cents, or 0.5%, at $82.34 a barrel, on track for a 0.4% weekly fall.
Back on Nymex, March gasoline
fell 0.2% to $2.375 a gallon, while March heating oil
rose 1.4% to $2.75 a gallon.
March natural gas
rose 1.8% to $2.355 per million British thermal units.
Crude has fallen as Russian supply has continued to flow into the market, though it plans to cut production by 500,000 barrels a day in March as it reacts to a further round of price caps and sanctions that were a further response to the invasion of Ukraine.
At the same time, U.S. crude inventories have continued to build, with domestic inventories rising by 7.6 million barrels last week, according to government data released Thursday.
Don’t miss: The real impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on commodities
However, two Russian companies have announced that they plan to reduce their exports in March, presumably due at least in part to low prices, said Barbara Lambrecht, commodity analyst at Commerzbank, in a Friday note.
“If there are increasing signs that this is likely to happen, and if the [International Energy Agency’s] assessment of declining Russian production proves accurate, prices are likely to be pushed up,” she wrote.
Meanwhile, a slight upturn in purchasing managers index readings for the manufacturing sector in the U.S. and China — the two largest markets — should lend additional support, Lambrecht said.
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