Oil settles slightly higher but posts weekly decline
By Julia Simon
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices closed up on Friday on growing hope that OPEC might agree to extend production cuts long enough to reduce a global crude glut, but crude prices still posted a weekly decline.
U.S. light crude CLc1 rose 36 cents to settle at $49.33 a barrel, off the day's high of $49.76. Benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 futures settled up 29 cents to $51.73 a barrel. Both benchmarks ended with weekly and monthly declines.
The more active Brent futures contract for delivery in July LCON7 closed at $52.05 Friday, up 23 cents.
If the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agrees to extend the cuts, then bloated global inventories could drain by the end of the year, a Reuters poll of economists and analysts showed.
OPEC next meets in May to discuss oil supply policy and its secretary-general, Mohammad Barkindo, said this week the group wants to see global inventories reduced further.
That has made energy investors more hopeful the producer group will extend supply cuts into the second half of the year. OPEC's deal to curb supply, which non-OPEC members such as Russia have joined, is due to expire at the end of June.
The talk of extending the cuts has come even before some producers have reduced output to the agreed-upon levels.
Non-OPEC member Russia said it would meet its deal target of cutting output by 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) by the end of April, supporting crude prices. Continued...