Oil Up First Time in 8 Weeks on China Rate Cut, OPEC Expectations
NEW YORK, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Friday for their first weekly gain in two months with benchmark Brent crude returning to above $80 a barrel after a rally triggered by China's interest rate cut and speculation of an OPEC output cut.
Brent rose $1.03 to settle at $80.36 a barrel. It had risen as much as $2.28 earlier to a session high of $81.61.
U.S. crude finished up 66 cents at $76.51, after an intraday peak at $77.83.
Oil's rise for a second straight day gave Brent a 95-cent, or 1.2 percent, gain on the week. It was also the market's first positive week after a record drop of eight weeks in a row.
U.S. crude rose 69 cents, or 1 percent, on the week, after consecutive losses for seven weeks.
Since June, oil has lost about 30 percent of its value, with Brent plunging from a high above $115 and U.S. crude falling from above $107.
"This market has been sold out so much that any kind of fresh bullish news is going to cause a price pop," said Thomas Saal, analyst at INTL FC Stone in Miami, Florida.
China's central bank cut benchmark interest rates for the first time in more than two years to reduce borrowing costs and ward off the slowest growth in 24 years.
China is the largest net importer of petroleum and metals, and the rate cut sent most commodity prices surging.
Expectations of a production cut from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries at its Nov. 27 meeting also fed the rally, although profit-taking emerged later, along with selling by those expecting another tumble next week.
"We continue to see a bear market for crude, and we've used any opportunity at all in the market's strength to sell into it, in any small way we could," said Tariq Zahir, managing member of Tyche Capital Advisors in Laurel Hollow, New York.
Market bets on the outcome of the OPEC meeting vary, although optimism of an output cut has grown lately.
OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia has not committed to lower production. But Russia said on Friday that Riyadh had expressed "a willingness to cooperate on issues related to energy and oil markets."
Venezuela has also said it will curb its own output if OPEC agreed to do so.
(Additional reporting by Christopher Johnson in London and Keith Wallis in Singapore; Editing by David Evans, Bernadette Baum and Marguerita Choy)