Oil headed for a third weekly increase on expectations that production cuts by OPEC and resilient fuel demand will keep global markets in balance.
Futures rose as much as 1.7 percent in New York, with gains over the past three weeks totaling about 16 percent. OPEC's production fell by the most in almost two years in December before a fresh round of cuts started this month, and Russia is aiming to speed up the pace of its curbs. The International Energy Agency maintained its outlook for an acceleration in global demand growth this year as lower prices offset the economic slowdown.
West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery rose as much as 86 cents to $52.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and was at $52.57 as of 12:28 p.m. London time. The contract lost 24 cents on Thursday. Futures are up 1.9 percent this week.
Brent for March settlement advanced 46 cents to $61.64 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Prices are up 2 percent this week, and 15 percent higher this month. The global benchmark crude was at an $8.79 premium to WTI for March.