Oil Stems Losses in Volatile Trading -- 2nd Update

By Sarah McFarlane and Jenny W. HsuFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Crude futures posted a small rebound on Friday, recovering from a sudden 3% fall in Asian trade and following a week of steep losses globally as investors continue to worry about brimming crude inventories.

Even with Friday's rebound, prices have tumbled around 5% this week, putting oil at its lowest levels since late November, when the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other big oil producers agreed to cut output for six months. Most of the losses came after data on Wednesday showed a smaller-than-expected fall in U.S. oil inventories and rising production.

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Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, rose 0.6% to $48.69 a barrel on London's ICE Futures exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading up 0.4% at $45.69 a barrel.

The swift decline in Asia followed an overnight drop of 5% in New York.

The week's gyrations will likely influence OPEC when it meets on May 25 to decide whether it will extend its production cuts.

"The intensity of the latest selloff may have surprised, but will heap pressure on a disheartened OPEC and fuel doubts over its influence on oil market dynamics," said Stephen Brennock at brokerage PVM. The sharp fall in prices will likely boost the cartel's resolve to extend its production cut into the second half of the year, Mr. Brennock added.

Write to Sarah McFarlane at sarah.mcfarlane@wsj.com and Jenny W. Hsu at jenny.hsu@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 05, 2017 05:24 ET (09:24 GMT)