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Oil Set for Weekly Gain on Signs of Improving Demand

Oil prices gained on Friday, with global benchmark Brent set for its first weekly increase in three weeks on signs of improving global demand amid stronger economic indicators from key consumers China and the United States.

Brent crude oil prices climbed 21 cents, or 0.25%, to $83.48 a barrel by 0314 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 7 cents, or 0.09%, to $79.30 a barrel. Brent futures are set to rise about 1% on a weekly basis, with WTI futures set to gain 1.4%.

“WTI crude oil prices seem to have found a near-term floor/support at around US$78.40/barrel after a 9%+ decline from 26 April in the past week due to several encouraging factors such as two consecutive weeks of decline in U.S. crude oil stockpile and more upcoming ‘piecemeal’ stimulus measures from China,” said OANDA senior market analyst Kelvin Wong, referring to the country’s potential programme to buy up unsold homes directly from property developers.

Markets were also bolstered by China’s industrial output growth at 6.7% year-on-year in April as recovery in its manufacturing sector gathered pace, pointing to possibly stronger demand to come. Declines in oil and refined products inventories at major global trading hubs have also created optimism over oil demand growth.

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