Oil ends up for sixth straight session

Oil ends up for sixth straight session

Oil futures on both sides of the Atlantic ended higher for the sixth straight session on Friday, with Brent oil posting the biggest weekly percentage gain in six weeks as turmoil in Egypt and Libya stoked worries about oil supply security.

Brent crude oil staged a late-session comeback after trading lower earlier in the afternoon in New York. Trading was very choppy as traders sold contracts ahead of the weekend to book profits, brokers said.

Brent crude oil futures for October delivery finished the day 80 cents higher at $ 110.40 a barrel. Brent gained 2 percent on the week, its largest weekly percentage gain since the week to July 5, according to Reuters data.

On Thursday, the September contract expired 91 cents higher at $ 111.11 per barrel.

Civil unrest in Egypt and Libya supported prices, analysts said. Although Egypt is not a major oil producer, investors are wary that the unrest there could spread through the Middle East, which pumps more than a third of the world’s oil.

Additionally, Libya’s oil production and exports have been crippled by violence and strikes, pushing exports to their lowest level since the civil war of 2011. One refinery has reinstated some exports.

A bomb attack halted crude oil flow through the Iraq-Turkey pipeline on Friday, and repair work could take 48 hours.

In the United States, oil futures ended slightly higher but pared most of their early gains as traders brushed off the threat of supply disruptions from tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. crude oil futures for September delivery settled 13 cents higher at $ 107.46, after trading as high as $ 108.17. U.S. oil futures ended 1.4 percent higher on the week.

The September crude oil contract expires on Tuesday and volumes were heavier in the October contract. U.S. crude oil futures for October delivery settled 10 cents higher at $ 107.29.

The spread between October and November U.S. oil futures narrowed late in the session to 78 cents, the smallest point between the two contracts in six weeks.

Some brokers said traders unwound the spread as fears of a continued drawdown of supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma, abated and as the September contract was set to expire.

U.S. economic data and stock market performance were “at best secondary, if not tertiary, drivers,” relative to what was happening in Egypt, said Stephen Schork, editor of The Schork Report in Villanova, Pennsylvania.

—By Reuters.

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