(Rigzone, Friday, October 25, 2019) -- West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent crude oil prices finished the day and the week in positive territory. The December WTI contract added 43 cents Friday to settle at $56.66 per barrel. The light crude marker traded within a range from $55.60 to $56.72. Against the Oct. 18 settlement, WTI is up nearly 5.4 percent.

Brent crude for December delivery also edged upward, gaining 35 cents to end the day at $62.02 per barrel. Week-on-week, the Brent is up 4.4 percent.

“Global oil prices made a partial recovery this week, with Brent crude holding above $61 per barrel in recent days,” Cailin Birch, global economist at The Economist Intelligence Unit, told Rigzone.

Birch explained that one factor contributing to the partial recovery was investors’ cautious optimism that the United States and China will strike a tentative deal in their ongoing trade talks, avoiding the final round of tariffs set to go into effect on Dec. 15. Moreover, she said prices have been buoyed by rumors that OPEC may consider an even sharper production cut in 2020.

“However, some investors are also unwinding their short positions, following several weeks of downbeat assessments of oil price movements,” Birch continued. “This reflects normal cyclical movements in the oil market, rather than an actual shift in supply-demand fundamentals.”

Citing The Economist Intelligence Unit’s expectation that Brent will remain in the low-$60s for the rest of the year, Birch noted that slowing global economic growth is weighing on oil consumption.

“The main factors that could change that outlook would be a potential U.S.-China trade deal or another escalation in tensions between Saudi and Iran,” she said.

Reformulated gasoline (RBOB) also finished the day higher. November RBOB settled at $1.67 per gallon, reflecting a one-cent gain. RBOB is up 3.1 percent for the week.

Unlike the above benchmarks, Henry Hub natural gas posted a loss Friday. November gas futures shed nearly two cents, closing at $2.30. Natural gas is also down nearly one percent versus the week-ago settlement price.

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