By Aaron Sheldrick
TOKYO (Reuters) – Oil prices edged up on Friday after a difficult week, but were still headed for losses of about 4%, hit by a combination of rising global supply and uncertain future demand.
U.S. crude rose for the first time in four days, gaining 18 cents, or 0.3%, to $54.36 a barrel by 0339 GMT. The contract was set for a weekly loss of more than 4%.
Brent crude was up 5 cents, or 0.1%, at $59.67 a barrel, leaving it on track for a drop of nearly 4%.
Worries over global economic growth, along with oil demand, continue to haunt the market as leaders from the United States and China struggle to end a 16-month dispute that has roiled trade between the world’s top two economies.
“Concerns about the U.S.-China trade dispute have come home to roost,” said Stephen Innes, Asia Pacific market strategist at AxiTrader.
The market received some respite from a run of poor economic data after an unexpected bounce in a private sector survey of Chinese manufacturing activity on Friday, which contrasted with the dour results of an official survey Thursday.
Japanese factory activity, however, sank to more than a three-year low in October, data showed on Friday, in a fresh warning sign for the world’s third-largest economy.
U.S. crude inventories rose by 5.7 million barrels in the week to Oct. 25, dwarfing analyst expectations for an increase of just 494,000 barrels.
A Reuters survey showed that oil prices are likely to remain under pressure this year and next. The poll of 51 economists and analysts forecast Brent crude would average $64.16 a barrel in 2019 and $62.38 next year.
Meanwhile, U.S. crude production soared nearly 600,000 barrels per day in August to a record of 12.4 million, buoyed by a 30% increase in Gulf of Mexico output, according to government data released on Thursday.
Those numbers came as a Reuters survey found output from Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) recovered in October from an eight-year low, with a rapid recovery in Saudi Arabian production from attacks on oil plants more than offsetting losses in Ecuador and voluntary curbs under a supply pact.
Graphic: U.S., Russian, Saudi crude oil production, https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/editorcharts/OIL-PRODUCERS-BIGGEST…
(Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Richard Pullin)