OIL PRICE: ABOVE $72
REUTERS - Oil prices steadied on Friday, heading for their largest weekly gain since July after U.S. President Donald Trump's comments about possible military action in Syria and reports of dwindling global oil stocks.
Recovering from earlier losses, Brent crude LCOc1 was up 28 cents at $72.30 a barrel by 1301 GMT and set for a weekly gain of almost 8 percent, or about $5.
U.S. crude for May delivery CLc1 rose 28 cents to $67.35, up more than 8 percent, or about $5, for the week.
"You have to put today's moves in the context of the last three days. There hasn't been any particular change today in terms of geopolitics or fundamental data," said Harry Tchilinguirian of BNP Paribas.
Both oil benchmarks hit their highest since late 2014 on Wednesday after Trump warned that missiles "will be coming" in response to a suspected gas attack in Syria and after Saudi Arabia said it intercepted missiles over Riyadh.
Trump tweeted on Thursday that an attack on Syria "could be very soon or not so soon at all", raising the prospect that an attack might not be as imminent as he seemed to suggest the previous day.
"As we start the last day of the week, we feel that the geopolitical risks are not as high as feared three days ago," Petromatrix said in a note.
"The Syrian escalation risk cannot be fully written off, but we view that it deserves less of a premium than three days ago."
A global oil stocks surplus is close to evaporating, OPEC said on Thursday, adding that its collective output fell to 31.96 million barrels per day (bpd) in March, down 201,000 bpd from February.
Vienna-based OPEC and its oil producer allies are poised to extend their supply reduction pact into 2019 even as the global glut of crude looks set to be eradicated by September, OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo told Reuters.
The International Energy Agency (IEA), which coordinates the energy policies of industrialized nations, signaled on Friday that markets could become too tight if supply remains restrained.
"It is not for us to declare on behalf of the Vienna agreement countries that it is 'mission accomplished', but if our outlook is accurate, it certainly looks very much like it," the IEA said.
Meanwhile China's March crude oil imports climbed month on month to the second-highest level on record.
In Norway, Eni (ENI.MI) has shut output at its Arctic Goliat oilfield because of a small at a platform that has capacity of close to 100,000 barrels a day.
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API - American Petroleum Institute reported that the first four months of this year saw U.S. petroleum demand average 750 thousand barrels a day above the same period in 2017 despite higher prices, a sign of solid economic activity. April also saw the U.S. produce a record 10.5 million barrels per day (MBD) of oil.
IMF - “Egypt’s growth has continued to accelerate during 2017/18, rising to 5.2 percent in the first half of the year from 4.2 percent in 2016/17. The current account deficit has also declined sharply, reflecting the recovery in tourism and strong growth in remittances, while improved investor confidence has continued to support portfolio inflows. In addition, gross international reserves rose to $44 billion by end-April, equal to 7 months of imports.
BAKER HUGHES A GE - U.S. Rig Count is up 1 rig from last week to 1,046, with oil rigs unchanged at 844, gas rigs up 1 to 200, and miscellaneous rigs unchanged at 2. Canada Rig Count is up 4 rigs from last week to 83, with oil rigs up 6 to 38 and gas rigs down 2 to 45.
REUTERS - Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $79.57 per barrel at 0310 GMT, up 27 cents, or 0.3 percent from their last close. Brent broke through $80 for the first time since November 2014 on Thursday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $71.62 a barrel, up 13 cents, or 0.2 percent, from their last settlement.