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Oil Prices on Track for Weekly Gains of More Than 8%

Oil prices move higher on signs of market stabilization - Crude prices moved higher in mid-morning trade on Friday, heading for weekly gains of more than 8%, as traders digested another positive report on market stabilization.
New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude futures gained 20 cents, or about 0.3%, to $64.27 a barrel by 10:27AM ET (14:27GMT).

Meanwhile, Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., traded up 34 cents, or roughly 0.5%, to $72.36 a barrel.

OPEC and its allies appear to have accomplished their mission of bringing global oil stocks to desired levels, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its monthly report released Friday, predicting that inventories should drop to their five-year average -a metric used by OPEC to measure the success of output cuts- by as early as May.

"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.

The IEA report followed up on OPEC’s monthly release on Wednesday that said the global oil inventory surplus is close to evaporating, having shrunk by nine-tenths since the start of 2017 due to the supply cuts and rising demand.

The pact runs until the end of 2018 but there is growing confidence that the cooperation will be extended into next year. OPEC will meet in June to decide on its next course of action.

Further buoyed by geopolitical tension over Syria earlier in the week, the U.S. benchmark was on track for weekly gains of 8.5%, while Brent was up around 8%. The move would be the largest weekly rise since last July.

In other energy trading, gasoline futures fell 0.3% to $2.0519 a gallon, while heating oil lost 0.1% to $2.0810 a gallon.

Natural gas futures gained 2.0% to $2.740 per million British thermal units.

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