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SINGAPORE: Oil prices fell on Friday after two days of gains as market participants weighed concerns about the global economic slowdown – which could dampen demand for fuel – against expectations of tighter supply towards the end of the year.
Brent crude futures fell 36 cents, or 0.4%, to $96.23 a barrel at 03:09 GMT after rising 3.1% on Thursday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was at $90.29 a barrel, down 21 cents, or 0.2%, after rising 2.7% in the previous session.
Still, the benchmark contracts were heading for weekly losses of around 1.5%.
While bullish weekly data in the U.S. has bolstered optimism that near-term fuel demand will improve, lingering recession fears and a possible OPEC+ production boost will likely limit the rise in the price. oil prices, said Satoru Yoshida, commodities analyst at Rakuten Securities.
U.S. crude inventories fell sharply as the country exported a record 5 million barrels of oil a day in the most recent week, with oil companies finding strong demand from European nations seeking to replace crude from Russia at war.
U.S. oil refineries expect to continue operating at full capacity this quarter, according to executives and estimates, as refiners put aside worries about the recession and falling retail prices to supply more fuel.
Increased fuel production in the United States could partly offset lower petroleum product exports from China this year, with Beijing prioritizing the local market to curb domestic fuel inflation.
On supplies, Haitham Al Ghais, new secretary general of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, told Reuters that policymakers, lawmakers and insufficient investment in the oil and gas sector are to blame for high oil prices. energy, not its group.
The group and allies such as Russia, known as OPEC+, are due to meet on September 5 to adjust production. OPEC is keen to ensure that Russia remains part of the OPEC+ oil production deal after 2022, Al Ghais said.
In a sign of improving supply, the price differential between fast and second-month Brent futures has narrowed by around $5 a barrel since late July.
Record U.S. crude exports, the resumption of Libyan production and buoyant exports from Russia and Iran eased global supply tensions ahead of peak refinery maintenance.
Russia plans to increase production and exports until the end of 2025, according to an economy ministry document seen by Reuters, indicating that energy export revenues will increase by 38% this year, partly due to higher oil export volumes.
Iran, meanwhile, increased its oil exports in June and July and could increase them further this month by offering a deeper discount to Russian crude for its main buyer, China, companies that follow have said. flows.