Oil prices were lower on Friday but on course for weekly gains, the third in a row in
the case of Brent as the clean-up after hurricane in the United States gathers pace and the outlook for demand rise.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was above 50 dollars on hitting a four-month high and finished 1.2 per cent higher at 49.89 dollars, the highest since July 31.
Brent crude futures were at 55.24 dollars a barrel just as they hit 55.99 dollars on Thursday.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) this week forecast higher demand for its oil in 2018 and pointed to signs of a tighter global market, indicating its production-cutting deal with non- member countries is helping to tackle a supply glut.
It was followed by the IEA saying the global oil glut was shrinking, thanks to strong European and U.S. demands as well as production declines in OPEC and non-OPEC countries.
BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley said oil prices were likely to stay up to 60 dollars as major producers kept output restricted.
In other markets, typically safe haven assets like the Yen and gold were higher after North Korea fired off yet another missile in breach of United Nations sanctions amid high regional tensions over its nuclear weapons programme. (Reuters/NAN)