BENGALURU:

Oil prices nudged higher on Friday with US inflation data showing some signs of slowing price rises, but for the month, oil was on course for its weakest performance since November.

Brent futures, which have risen nearly 6% this week, were up 26 cents, or 0.3%, at $79.53 a barrel by 1456 GMT. The US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 37 cents, or 0.5%, to $74.74, having gained about 8% so far this week.

If those levels hold, oil prices will record their second straight week of gains, but Brent and WTI were also set for losses of about 5% and 3%, respectively.

The benchmarks hit their lowest since 2021 on March 20 in the wake of large bank failures. “The prolonged economic scarring of the last month will likely slow the economy, if not cause a recession, and lower interest rate expectations are not enough to support oil prices in the short term,” said Craig Erlam, senior markets analyst at Oanda.

Providing support to prices on Friday, the US Personal Consumption Expenditure index rose 0.3% in February on a monthly basis.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2023.

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