NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices rebounded from a brief sell-off and rose a dollar a barrel on Friday to end the week on a positive note, driven by renewed confidence in demand from top oil importer China.
Crude futures were up 1.08 percent, or 1.3 percent, at $85.83 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up $1.52, or 1.9 percent, at $79.68 a barrel.
Both benchmarks recorded their highest closing levels since February 13.
Prices fell more than $2 a barrel in the session after a media report said the UAE was witnessing internal discussions about pulling out of OPEC and pumping more oil.
Prices rebounded when two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters the report was “far from the truth”.
Brent and West Texas Intermediate posted their third biggest weekly percentage gains this year as strong Chinese economic data boosted hopes for oil demand growth.
“It was volatile today, falling on rumors of the UAE leaving OPEC+, then reversed dramatically and rocketed higher as these rumors were denied,” said Matt Smith, an analyst at Kepler.
Service sector activity in China grew at its fastest pace in six months in February, and manufacturing activity there also grew. Russian oil imports by sea to China are set to hit a record this month.
(Prepared by Mahmoud Salama for Arab Bulletin)
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