Investing.com - Crude prices managed to edge higher on Friday despite a report showing the weakest growth in oil demand in 10 years, as expectations of additional Saudi-led supply cuts supported bulls.
New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude futures gained 65 cents, or 1.2%, to $53.17 a barrel by 8:29 AM ET (12:29 GMT), while Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., rose 73 cents, or 1.3%, to $58.11.
The IEA also indicated that demand so far in 2019 has grown at its slowest pace since 2008.
Despite the gloomy outlook for the demand side of the equation, traders appeared to take solace in reported efforts by Saudi Arabia to deal with supply.
Crude prices were boosted on Thursday by a Bloomberg report quoting an unidentified Saudi official as saying the country would not tolerate the steep price slide of the past week.
“Saudi Arabia is apparently determined not to let oil prices crash again like last year,” Investing.com senior commodity analyst Barani Krishnan said.
But Krishnan showed skepticism, saying that Saudi Arabia had scarce options in the face of a cooling global economy and the U.S.-China trade dispute that are putting the brakes on demand.
Those factors are why WTI oil is on track for a weekly decline of more than 4%, while Brent was off around 6%.
“With Beijing’s yuan devaluation from last week appearing to be just the tip of the mountain of likely shocks awaiting the global economy, there’s no certainty that OPEC can just slash its way to desired prices, though there are few other options for the group,” Krishnan said.
Later on Friday, market focus will shift to Baker Hughes’ weekly rig count data at 1:00 PM ET (17:00 GMT).
In other energy trading, gasoline futures advanced 1.2% to $1.6650 a gallon by 8:31 AM ET (12:31 GMT), while heating oil rose 1.2% to $1.7971 a gallon.
Lastly, natural gas futures traded down 2.5% to $2.075 per million British thermal unit.