Investing.com – Crude futures settled higher on Friday, as investors turned attention to the OPEC meeting next week amid growing expectations that OPEC members will extend supply cuts for a prolonged period.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for June delivery gained 98 cents to settle at $50.33 a barrel, while on London's Intercontinental Exchange, Brent added 0.97 cents to trade at $53.48 a barrel.
Investors hopes of an extension of the current supply-cut agreement to March 2018, received a boost on Thursday, after Algerian Energy Minister, Noureddine Boutarfa, said that most OPEC members support Saudi Arabia and Russia’s proposal to prolong the production cuts to March next year, and that the rate of compliance should increase.
Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed earlier this week that the production cuts needed to be extended for a period of nine months until March 2018.
"There has been a marked reduction to the inventories, but we're not where we want to be in reaching the five-year average," Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Monday.
In November last year, OPEC and other producers, including Russia agreed to cut output by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd). The deal to cut supply started in January this year for a period of six months until June.
OPEC is expected to decide at talks on May 25 whether to extend the current deal to cut production.
Meanwhile, the rising level of U.S. oil output returned to the fore, after oilfield services firm Baker Hughes reported its weekly U.S. rig count rose by 8 to 720.
Crude prices posted a second-straight weekly gain, settling above the key $50 level for the first time since April.
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