Oil was mixed on Friday, with short-covering pushing up U.S. crude futures while Brent slipped on global trade tensions and increased Saudi production.
West Texas Intermediate crude futures CLc1 gained 61 cents to $73.55 by 11:30 a.m. (1530 GMT). Global benchmark Brent LCOc1 was down 39 cents at $77 a barrel.
For the week, WTI was on track for a loss of about 0.4 percent while Brent was down about 3 percent.
“We have a little bit of a rally that’s materialized” for WTI, said Bob Yawger of director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York.
The rally appears to be a “short covering situation – we were down almost 2 percent yesterday,” said Yawger.
U.S. crude futures slipped on Thursday after data showed an unexpected 1.3 million-barrel build in crude inventories.
Brent, meanwhile, was “still having difficulty gaining independent bullish traction,” said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates in a note.
“Increased Saudi crude availability that is being enhanced by reduced OSPs (official selling prices) into Europe and other regions is providing a strong counter against curtailed Libyan export activities,” Ritterbusch wrote.
In addition to reducing the price of its August barrels, Saudi Arabia also told the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that it increased production by almost 500,000 barrels per day last month.
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