Investing.com - Crude oil posted early gains in Asia with investor interest on a key meeting on a proposal to freeze output by major producers looming next month and stockpile data from the U.S. this week.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for delivery rose 0.76% to $39.76 a barrel. in holiday thinned trade with markets in Australia and Hong Kong, London, Frankfurt, Paris and Milan will be closed for Easter Monday. Later on the day, the U.S. is to release reports on personal spending and pending home sales.
In the week ahead, oil traders will be focusing on U.S. stockpile data on Tuesday and Wednesday for fresh supply-and-demand signals.
Developments surrounding a potential deal between OPEC and non-OPEC producers to cap output will also be in focus. Markets in Australia, Hong Kong, London, Frankfurt, Paris and Milan will be closed for Easter Monday. Later on Monday, the U.S. is to release reports on personal spending and pending home sales.
Last week, oil futures settled lower on Thursday, as a massive build in U.S. crude inventories helped prices tally their first weekly loss in six weeks.
The crude oil market remained closed Friday in observance of the Good Friday holiday.
The U.S. benchmark came off the lowest levels of the session in late trade after oilfield services provider Baker Hughes said the number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. fell by 15 last week to 372. The report follows an increase of one rig the week before, which marked the first oil-rig count rise of the year.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, crude oil inventories rose by a more-than-expected 9.4 million barrels last week to an all-time high of 532.5 million barrels.
Since falling to 13-year lows at $26.05 on February 11, U.S. crude futures have rebounded by approximately 45% as a decline in U.S. shale production boosted sentiment. However, analysts warned that market conditions remained weak due to an ongoing glut.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for May delivery shed 3 cents, or 0.07%, on Thursday to close at $40.44 a barrel, after slumping to a daily low of $39.22, a level not seen since March 16.
Officials from the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) admitted on Thursday that a highly anticipated output freeze between four major producers could essentially be "meaningless".
Producers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-members are due to meet on April 17 in Qatar discuss the output freeze. But it isn't clear exactly which, or how many, OPEC and non-OPEC members will attend the meeting.
Brent futures are up by roughly 45%, since briefly dropping below $30 a barrel on February 11. Short-covering began in mid-February after Saudi Arabia and fellow OPEC members Qatar and Venezuela agreed with non-OPEC member Russia to freeze output at January levels, provided other oil exporters joined in.
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