Oil Rises on Russia's Output Freeze Commitment


Oil edged higher on Friday as Russia reiterated its commitment to joining a producers' output freeze to stem a two-year slide in prices, but a strong dollar capped the gains.

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Global benchmark Brent crude futures were 44 cents higher at $51.82 a barrel at 1132 GMT (0732 EDT).

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was trading at $50.95 a barrel, up 32 cents from its last settlement.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday an oil production freeze agreement was necessary to prop up prices and that he would make proposals to his Saudi Arabian counterpart this weekend.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will hold a meeting on Nov. 30 to find common ground on capping output. This is expected to work out how each member country will contribute to a freeze.

"The near term fundamentals in the oil market have turned positive. Demand is stabilizing, OPEC production has peaked (and will fall if cuts are implemented), and global inventory declines imply that the market is more balanced than many believe," Neil Beveridge of Bernstein Energy said in a note to clients.

Oil-producing countries are hoping for higher crude prices to boost their economies. Nigeria's finance minister said on Friday he hoped oil prices would stabilize in a range of $42-50 a barrel.

A rise in the dollar on Friday to touch a seven-month high against a basket of currencies, in its third straight week of gains, prevented oil prices from pushing higher.

A stronger dollar means dollar-denominated commodities become more expensive to hold, making it less attractive for investors to buy them.

(Additional reporting by Henning Gloystein in Singapore; editing by Mark Heinrich)