Oil Rises, Pares Losses in January on Hopes for Production Deal


NEW YORK, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Friday, rebounding more than 25 percent from 12-year lows hit last week and cutting losses for the month, on prospects of a deal between major exporters to cut production and curb one of the biggest supply gluts in history.

Oil also drew support from weak U.S. GDP data that raised hopes the Federal Reserve may slow any planned interest rate hikes.

The oil market rallied for four straight sessions this week after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries renewed calls for rival producers to cut supply alongside its members that triggered a volley of comments from Russia on a deal with OPEC, something it had been refusing to do for 15 years.

Brent March futures, which expired on Friday, closed at $34.74 a barrel, 85 cents or 2.5 percent higher. On Jan. 20, it hit $27.10, its lowest since November 2003.

U.S. crude settled up 40 cents or 1.2 percent, at$33.62 per barrel, having hit a high of $34.40 in the session.

For the week, Brent was 7.9 percent higher and U.S. crude 4.4 percent higher, paring their monthly losses to 6.8 percent and 9.3 percent respectively.

Trading was volatile, with both contracts briefly turning negative after the Wall Street Journal cited an Iranian oil official as saying the country would not join an immediate OPEC production cut. The paper said Iran wants to boost crude exports by 1.5 million barrels per day.


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