Crude oil prices increased during the week ending Dec. 11, as recent vaccine rollouts boosted the upward sentiment of an oil demand rebound but the surprise build in US crude stocks limited further upticks.
International benchmark Brent crude traded at $49.98 at 1300 GMT on Friday, posting a 1.81% increase from Monday when trade at 0641 GMT registered at $49.09 per barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $46.61 at the same time on Friday relative to $46.06 a barrel on Monday.
Gains extended toward $50 a barrel after OPEC+ reached a deal last week to incrementally ease production cuts although the decision failed to meet market expectations of extending the current deal for three months.
Oil prices started the week with concerns that stiffening coronavirus mitigation measures may reflect negatively on global economies amid weak demand and a supply glut.
On Tuesday, the UK kicked off a mass vaccination program, followed by Canada, which also announced on Thursday that the first shots would start next week. As the US Food and Drug Administration is due to give its approval, the US, where the number of cases exceeds 15.6 million, is also set to commence its first vaccine shots at the weekend.
A surprising massive build-up in US crude inventories, however, restricted some upward price pressure, signaling that demand is still weak in the country.
According to data released by the country's Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday, US commercial crude oil inventories rose by 15.2 million barrels, or 3.1%, to 503.2 million barrels relative to the market expectation of a fall of 1.5 million barrels.
By Sibel Morrow