Oil prices reverse earlier losses as Brent closes week above $85/b

Crude oil is dispensed into a bottle in this illustration photo June 1, 2017. REUTERS-Thomas White-Illustration

Brent crude futures swung between gains and losses around $85.37 a barrel on Friday, and are barely changed on a weekly basis as coal and gas prices eased sapping demand and as investors continue to book profits on worries the market was nearing overbought territory.

WTI crude reversed early losses to trade close to a 7-year high of $83 a barrel on Friday, and will probably avoid a weekly loss as investors continue to monitor the energy crisis which prompted a switch to fuel for power generation and heating amid soaring natural gas and coal prices.

The benchmark Brent crude has been steadily rising since the fourth week of August to reach 3-year highs of $85 a barrel as an ongoing energy crunch in Europe and Asia, as well as inability of OPEC+ nations to increase output levels has pressured the market and bolstered the imbalances between supply and demand in recent months. Also, the latest EIA data showed crude and fuel inventories tightened, with crude inventories at the Cushing storage hub falling to a three-year low.

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