NEW YORK, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Crude prices erased early losses to rise by 1 percent or more on Friday after a report showing the fifth weekly decline in the U.S. oil rig count renewed the debate over falling production in the world's top oil consumer.
Softer-than-expected U.S. jobs data and other economic statistics had weighed on oil earlier, along with reduced threats to oil installations in the U.S. East Coast from Hurricane Joaquin.
U.S. energy companies this week cut the number of rigs drilling for oil by 26, a weekly survey by oil services company Baker Hughes showed. It was the largest number of rigs idled in a week since April.
The data turned around oil prices that had been down about 1 percent earlier.
"The lower rig count supports the notion that production is beginning to fall," said Scott Shelton, commodities specialist at ICAP in Durham, North Carolina.
Brent, the global oil benchmark, settled up 44 cents, or nearly 1 percent, at $48.13 a barrel.
U.S. crude rose 80 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $45.54.
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