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Crude Oil Prices Settle Higher to Post 8.6% Weekly Gain

Investing.com - Crude oil prices settled at higher, notching their biggest weekly gain since July as rising geopolitical tensions and an ongoing decline in global inventories offset data pointing to continued U.S. oil output.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for May delivery rose 32 cents to settle at $67.39 a barrel, while on London's Intercontinental Exchange, Brent gained 58 cents to trade at $72.60 a barrel.

The number of oil rigs operating in the US rose by 7 to 815, their highest level since March 20, 2015, according to data from energy services firm Baker Hughes.

The bearish data, however, did little to curb sentiment on oil prices after an report from the International Agency Energy showed that the glut in oil supplies has mostly diminished. The energy watchdog further stoked demand for oil, predicting that global oil supplies would likely fall below the five-year average levels in the coming months.

The bullish report came a day after OPEC said in its monthly report that total production from the group fell to the lowest since March 2017. OPEC output fell by 201,400 barrels a day last month, the most since November, to 31.96 million barrels a day, led by Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Libya.

Crude oil prices rallied 8.6% this week as traders continued to bet that rising geopolitical tensions in the oil-rich Middle East, could lead to supply disruptions, extending the rally in oil prices.

Geopolitical tensions were ratcheted up this week as U.S. President Donald Trump warned Russia to “get ready,” hinting at U.S. missile strikes on Syria. Despite, Trump backing away from his aggressive stance on Thursday, geopolitical tensions persisted, fuelling the uptick in oil prices.

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