Crude oil futures strengthened further on Friday despite a volatile trade, boosted by lower US stockpiles, a slight slowdown in US crude production and signs of increased Chinese demand. Crude prices gained by 5.2 percent for the week on a weaker dollar and hopes the Federal Reserve will goose the US economy with low interest rates for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, according data from oil services firm Baker Hughes showed an uptick in number of active US oil rigs to 765, up by 2 from the previous week, though the pace of additions has slowed to its lowest this year.
Benchmark crude oil futures for August delivery added $0.46 or 1 percent to $46.54 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude for August delivery ended up by $0.49 or 1.01 percent at $48.91 a barrel on the ICE.