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Oil heads for second weekly gain on tighter supply outlook

Oil heads for second weekly gain on tighter supply outlook

By Ahmad Ghaddar and Noah Browning

LONDON (Reuters) -Oil prices extended gains on Friday and were on course for a second weekly gain, supported by geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, concerns over tightening supply and expectations about demand growth as economies improve.

Brent crude was up 26 cents, or 0.3%, to $90.91 a barrel by 1252 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was at $86.65 a barrel, up 6 cents, or 0.1%.

On Thursday both benchmarks settled at their highest level since October.

Brent and WTI are set to notch a more than 4% gain this week after third-largest OPEC producer Iran vowed revenge against Israel for an attack that killed high-ranking Iranian military personnel.

“The market knows that some kind of retaliation from Iran is likely, but it doesn’t know any details which creates a great discomfort and nervousness,” SEB analyst Bjarne Schieldrop said.

Israel has not claimed responsibility for the attack on Iran’s embassy compound in Syria on Monday.

Ongoing Ukrainian drone attacks on refineries in Russia may have disrupted more than 15% of Russian capacity, a NATO official said on Thursday, hitting the country’s fuel output.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies led by Russia, known as OPEC+, this week kept their oil supply policy unchanged and pressed some countries to increase compliance with output cuts.

“Further clampdowns on adherence to quotas should see output fall further in Q2,” ANZ analysts Daniel Hynes and Soni Kumari wrote in a note.

“The prospect of a tighter market should see a drawdown in inventories during the second quarter.”

Meanwhile, U.S. job growth beat expectations in March according to official data released on Friday which also showed a steady increase in wages.

The nonfarm payrolls increase points to likely robust oil demand but potentially delays anticipated interest rate cuts by the U.S. Federal Reserve later this year.

This comes amid solid global oil demand growth of 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) in the first quarter, JPMorgan analysts wrote in a note.

“Our high-frequency demand indicators estimate that total oil consumption in March averaged 101.2 million bpd, 100,000 bpd above our published estimates,” they said.

(Additional reporting by Florence Tan in Singapore; editing by Jason Neely, Kirsten Donovan)

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