Oil rose for the first time in three sessions after the number of active rigs fell in the U.S., potentially easing a supply glut.
Futures rose as much as 1.1 percent in New York, paring a 4.8 percent loss in the previous two sessions. Rigs targeting oil in the U.S. fell by 15 to 372, according to Baker Hughes Inc. More than 150 have been parked since the start of the year. U.S. data last week showed inventories rose by more than three times what was forecast, while imports increased to the highest since June 2013. Trading was closed Friday for the Good Friday holiday.
Oil has climbed back from a 12-year low earlier this year on speculation the global surplus will ease as U.S. production declines and major producers including Saudi Arabia and Russia proposed an output freeze. Iran, committed to boosting output after sanctions were lifted in January, needs $40 billion for oil projects in the year ending next March, according to Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh.
West Texas Intermediate oil for May delivery gained as much as 42 cents to $39.88 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $39.73 at 7:37 a.m. Tokyo time. Total volume traded was about 73 percent below the 100-day average. Prices dropped 33 cents to settle at $39.46 a barrel on Thursday.
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Brent for May settlement rose as much as 24 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $40.68 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Prices slipped 1.8 percent last week. The global benchmark crude traded at a 89-cent premium to WTI.
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