Oil heads for second weekly gain amid Europe stimulus optimism

Oil heads for second weekly gain amid Europe stimulus optimism
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MELBOURNE (Sept 4): Oil headed for a second weekly gain amid optimism over potential European stimulus and as Venezuela and Russia agreed to a price support plan for crude.

Futures were little changed in New York after climbing 1.1 percent on Thursday. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi vowed to use all tools within his mandate to support economic recovery. OPEC member Venezuela and Russia, the largest oil exporter outside the group, agreed on “initiatives” to bring stability to the market, according to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Oil has fluctuated this week after capping the biggest three-day rally in 25 years on Monday. Crude is still down more than 20 percent from this year’s closing peak in June as leading members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries sustain output and U.S. crude stockpiles continue to rise, fueling a global glut.

West Texas Intermediate for October delivery was at $46.65 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 10 cents, at 8:34 a.m. Sydney time. The contract gained 50 cents to $46.75 on Thursday. The volume of all futures traded was about 73 percent below the 100-day average. Prices are 3.2 percent higher this week.

Brent for October settlement advanced 18 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $50.68 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange on Thursday. The European benchmark crude ended the session at a premium of $3.93 to WTI.