Crude oil futures - weekly outlook: April 14 -18

A A A - - U.S. crude oil prices rose to almost five-week highs on Friday after upbeat U.S. data on producer prices and consumer sentiment, before retracing those gains amid concerns over the declining demand outlook.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil futures for delivery in May ended Friday's session at $103.40 a barrel, unchanged for the day. U.S. crude futures rose to a session high of $103.79 earlier in the day, the most since March 4.

Nymex oil futures ended the week with gains of 2.59%, the biggest weekly increase since December.

Oil prices were boosted after data on Friday showed that U.S. producer prices rose 0.5% in March, the largest increase in nine months and ahead of expectations for a 0.1% increase.

A separate report showed that the University of Michigan's U.S. consumer sentiment index rose to 82.6 this month, its highest level since July.

Crude retreated from session highs after the International Energy Agency cut its global demand forecast for this year in its closely watched monthly report. The IEA said sanctions on Russia following its annexation of Crimea could weigh on oil demand.

Crude oil prices continued to remain underpinned by declining gasoline stockpiles ahead of the U.S. summer holiday driving season.

In its mid-week report, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 5.18 million barrels in the week ended April 4, falling well below one-year and five-year average levels.

The May Brent oil contract ended Friday's session unchanged at $107.40 on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, after rising to highs of $107.87 earlier in the trading day. Brent gained 1.34% on the week.

Brent's gains were checked by expectations that crude exports from Libya could soon resume after a standoff with rebels ended.

The spread between the Brent and the Nymex crude contracts stood at $4.00 a barrel by close of trade on Friday, compared to $5.05 in the preceding week. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.
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