Oil prices were mixed on Friday, as demand heightened with support from a weak US dollar and a more-than-expected drop in US crude inventories in the past week, although the US job report to be released later Friday, which is expected to be weaker than forecast, is keeping prices under pressure.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $73.12 per barrel at 0723 GMT for a 0.12% increase after closing Thursday at $73.03 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $69.94 a barrel at the same time for a 0.07% decline after ending the previous session at $69.99 per barrel.
The US dollar index, which measures the value of the American dollar against a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen, British pound, Canadian dollar, Swedish krona and Swiss franc, fell 0.02% to 92.20 on Friday.
The falling value of the dollar encourages oil-importing countries to buy more crude oil at lower dollar prices, driving up crude prices.
According to the latest data released by the Energy Information Administration on late Wednesday, US crude oil inventories fell more than expected by 1.7% during the week ending August 27.
Inventories decreased by 7.2 million barrels to 425.4 million barrels compared to the market expectation of a 2.8 million-barrel draw, signaling more demand to propel higher prices.
However, the OPEC+ decision to pump more oil into the market is limiting price gains. The group, in its latest meeting on Wednesday, agreed to stick to the existing production policy by approving an incremental increase of up to 400,000 barrels per day each month up to the end of this year.
Investors are now focusing on the upcoming US monthly jobs report for August to be released later Friday with expectations that the results will be weaker than forecast.
The Department of Labor had announced last month the addition of 943,000 jobs to the US economy in July, beating market estimates of 870,000. The unemployment rate also exceeded market expectations with a fall of 5.4%, as opposed to the predicted 5.7%.
By Ebru Sengul Cevrioglu