Oil posts longest run of weekly gains since April on crude draw

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Oil prices rose to the fourth consecutive weekly gain on Friday, steadying at three-month highs after new data showed US crude inventories fell far more than expected, while upbeat economic data and optimism over a U.S.

"In response, CTA funds continue to load up on energy markets with WTI crude and heating oil still expected to see a buying program ensue for the next few days".

The backdrop: OPEC and other top producing nations led by Russian Federation agreed this month to extend and deepen output cuts in the first quarter of 2020. While Russia's official statistics don't provide a breakdown for crude and condensate, the Energy Ministry will regularly inform analysts, the media and OPEC about the composition of its output, Novak said.

"OPEC cuts didn't fully solve the problem - instead they offer a light bandage to get through the first quarter of 2020", said Tonhaugen. The so-called Opec+ group agreed this month to extend and deepen production cuts that would take as much as 2.1 million barrels per day of supply off the market as on January 1, or roughly 2 per cent of global demand.

Oil prices fell on Friday, but both benchmarks logged a third straight weekly gain amid the easing of U.S. -China trade tariff war, a dispute that has overshadowed global economic growth prospects and left questionmarks over future demand for crude.

Gasoline inventories rose by 1.96m barrels, more than reported by the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute Tuesday. -China trade deal agreed to this month.

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Bulls are content with the fact that there is a pact to curb global output by OPEC and its allies may be eased while Kuwait and Saudi Arabia appeared close to a resolution on disputed territory.

Still, OPEC needs to do more to balance out the market on a sustainable basis, Bjornar Tonhaugen, head of oil market research at Rystad Energy, said in a note.

But oil-market sentiment improved as new data showed profits at China's industrial firms rose at the fastest pace in eight months in November, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

United States producers, which are not part of the OPEC + agreement, have been pumping record amounts of oil, especially oil from bituminous shale, to fill any supply gaps.

USA stock indexes rose slightly on Friday, with the S&P 500 index .SPX close to logging its best year since 1997. The report is normally released on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. EST (1530 GMT).

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