Oil prices dipped on Friday, with benchmarks heading for the weakest monthly performances, since November, ahead of key U.S. inflation data which could give clues on future interest rate moves and the strength of the dollar.
Brent futures, which have risen nearly 5 per cent this week, were down with 63 cents, or 0.8 per cent, $78.64 per cent a barrel at 0824 GMT, according to Agency reports.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell 44 cents, or 0.5 per cent, to $73.93, having gained about 7 per cent so far this week.
This contracts were set for 6 per cent and 4 per cent monthly drop, respectively, after hitting their lowest since 2021earlier in the month in the wake of the largest bank failures since the 2008 financial crisis.
Worries about a full-blown global banking crisis have abated after two banks, in the U.S, and in Europe were rescued.
Markets are now waiting for U.S. personal consumption expenditure (PCE) inflation figures, tracked closely by the Federal Reserve, which are due at 1230 GMT.
Economists polled by Reuters expect the core PCE index to ease to 0.4 per cent in February from January, and stay broadly steady on an annual basis of 4.7 per cent.
On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill intended to bolster U.S. oil and gas production while scaling back climate initiatives.
Oil prices were buoyed after producers shut in or reduced outputs at several oil fields in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq following a halt to the northern export pipeline.
Also, sending a bullish signal was data showing U.S. crude oil stockpiles fell to a two-year low.
Prices have also found support as China’s manufacturing activity rose in March, exceeding expectations, albeit at a slower pace, compared with record-breaking expansion in February.
With oil prices recovering from recent lows, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia are likely to stick to their existing deal to cut oil output at a meeting on Monday, sources disclosed.