Oil heads for third weekly gain after shock OPEC+ cuts

Oil rose on Thursday and was on track for a third weekly gain as further production cuts targeted by OPEC+ and a drop in U.S. oil inventories overshadowed fears over global economic growth.

Brent and U.S. crude have both gained more than 6% this week after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia – a group known as OPEC+ – on Sunday pledged surprise production cuts.

Limiting gains on Thursday, however, was weak U.S. economic data that raised concern over economic growth. The U.S. services sector slowed more than expected in March and U.S. job openings in February dropped to their lowest in nearly two years.

Brent crude rose 31 cents, or 0.4%, to $85.30 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate U.S. crude advanced 32 cents, or 0.4%, to $80.93. There is no trading on Friday because of the Good Friday holiday.

The U.S. dollar index steadied on Thursday after a recent two-month low. A stronger dollar makes crude becomes more expensive for holders of other currencies and tends to reflect greater risk aversion among investors.

Also underpinning the market was this week’s snapshot of U.S. supply, which showed crude inventories fell by a more than expected 3.7 million barrels while gasoline and distillate inventories also declined, hinting at rising demand.

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