NEW YORK:

Oil prices edged lower on Friday, but were on track for a fifth straight week of gains as investors were optimistic that healthy demand and supply cuts will keep prices buoyant.

Risk appetite in wider financial markets has been fuelled by growing expectations that central banks such as the US Federal Reserve and European Central Bank are nearing the end of policy tightening campaigns, boosting the outlook for global growth and energy demand.

Bolstered by supply cuts from the OPEC+ alliance announced earlier this month, both oil benchmarks are on track for a 3.8% weekly increase – a fifth straight week of gains. Brent is also on track for a monthly gain of 12%, while WTI is set to rise 13%. By 1510 GMT, Brent crude slipped 24 cents to $84.00 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dipped 24 cents to $79.85 a barrel.

Both benchmarks fell by as much as $1 briefly earlier in the session, as investors took profits after WTI rose above $80 per barrel, Price Futures Group analyst Phil Flynn said.

Fresh data released on Friday showed some of the euro zone’s top economies displayed unexpected resilience in the second quarter even as a raft of indicators pointed to renewed weakness ahead, as manufacturing ails and services slow.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2023.

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