Crude Oil Prices Stable, Set For Some Big Gain since Mid-May

Crude oil futures on Friday were on track for their biggest weekly gain since mid-May, ending five weeks of losses with prices underpinned by a decline in U.S. output.

U.S. crude futures have added 4.6 percent this week, while benchmark Brent has gained 4.2 percent. That marks the biggest rise for both markets since the week ending May 19. U.S. crude was trading up 0.2 percent, or 8 cents, at $45.01 a barrel at 0024 GMT on Friday, with Brent climbing 0.2 percent, or 7 cents, to $47.49 a barrel.

Crude prices hit a 10-month low last week in the face of a mounting supply glut, but data indicating a fall in U.S. production has bolstered markets this week.

U.S. crude output dropped 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 9.3 million bpd last week, the steepest weekly fall since July 2016.

Meanwhile, the North Sea crude oil market is finally showing signs of long-lost strength, suggesting that some of the pessimism that has driven down oil futures this month and created a record bet against a price rise may be unjustified.

On Thursday, about 6 million barrels of North Sea Brent crude were being stored on ships, down from four-month highs of as many as 9 million last week, and trading sources said it seemed now refineries were starting to take in more cargoes.

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