(MENAFN) Oil prices saw a slight increase on Friday as traders took advantage of profit-taking from low prices through the week. International benchmark Brent crude traded at USD74.92 per barrel, up 0.29 percent from the closing price of USD74.70 a barrel in the previous trading session, while American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at USD68.55 per barrel, a 0.29 percent increase after the previous session closed at USD68.35 a barrel. Both benchmarks had lost around 10 percent this week over fears of a global economic recession and low demand caused by the financial crisis in the US after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.
The collapse of two major US banks, coupled with the ECB's decision to increase its policy rate by 50 basis points to 3.5 percent on Thursday, has deepened economic worries and intensified concerns about the spillover effect of the US banking sector crisis. The ECB's decision also put some downward pressure on oil prices, increasing expectations for a similar move in the US. "Inflation is projected to remain too high for too long," the ECB said in a statement after announcing its decision.
Despite these concerns, oil prices recovered some of their weekly losses as traders cashed in on low prices. Prices had dropped to their lowest level since December 2021, with Brent dropping to USD71.67 a barrel and WTI to USD65.65 a barrel.
Easing supply worries and downside pressure on prices, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak met with Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman to discuss several issues, including achieving goals to maintain market stability and restore the balance of supply and demand on the global oil market. The meeting between the two leaders has provided some optimism for the market, as Russia and Saudi Arabia are two of the world's largest oil producers and key players in the global oil market.
The slight increase in oil prices on Friday suggests that traders are taking a cautious approach amid ongoing economic worries and uncertainty in the oil market. The situation remains fluid, and any further developments in the US banking sector crisis could have a significant impact on oil prices. The market will continue to closely monitor developments in the global economy and oil market to determine the direction of oil prices in the coming weeks.
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