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Oil prices climb on hopes output cuts will be extended

Oil futures rose in early trading on Friday on growing optimism that big producing countries will extend output cuts to curb a persistent glut in crude, with key benchmarks heading for a second week of gains.


Brent crude LCOc1 was up 32 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $52.83 at 0154 GMT, after settling up half a percent on Thursday. The contract is on track for a 3.5-percent climb this week, a second week of gains.


U.S. crude oil CLc1 was up 32 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $49.67 a barrel, after finishing the previous session at $49.35 a barrel, the highest close since April 26. The contract is heading for a weekly increase of 3.4 percent.


Oil prices have been trapped in a tight range in recent weeks as rising U.S. production has erased the effects of output cuts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other countries, including Russia.


But market watchers are growing more confident that OPEC, Russia and other big producers will extend cuts of almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) until the end of March 2018. U.S. producers are not party to any agreements capping production.


As with other markets, concerns about U.S. President Donald Trump's agenda amidst investigations in Washington faded into the background.


"With the political turmoil easing in the U.S. overnight, the market will return to the fundamental drivers," ANZ said in a research note.


"This should see oil prices remain well bid, as OPEC continues to talk up a continuation of the production cut agreement," it said.


On May 25, leaders from OPEC and other producing countries will meet in Vienna to decide on output policy.


Rosneft, the largest oil producer in Russia will meet agreements with the grouping on oil output reductions, the company's chief executive told reporters in Berlin on Thursday.


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