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Oil Up, Stabilizes Over Prospect of Coordinated SPR Release

Oil was up Friday morning in Asia, steadying after the previous volatile session, with a coordinated release of official crude reserves from stocks by key oil producers on the books.

Brent oil futures rose 0.65% to $81.77 by 11:18 PM ET (4:18 AM GMT), climbing back up above the $80-mark, while WTI futures rose 0.70% to $78.96. Both Brent and WTI futures are set for a fourth week of declines.

Investors continued digesting the U.S. request for China, Japan, and other big oil importers to join a coordinated release of crude stocks from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), according to Reuters. U.S. President Joe Biden has been facing growing calls to release supply from the SPR to curb soaring gasoline prices.

The U.S. move is widely viewed as a counter to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+), which is sticking to its plan of a gradual increase in supply. OPEC+’s restraint on production comes even as prices have recovered from levels in early 2020, the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Investors also digested data showing that Saudi Arabia’s oil exports hit an eight-month high in September.

“The market remains fundamentally tight and any volumes released are unlikely to substantially alter the global balance,” Fitch Solutions commodities analysts said in a note.

“As such, we expect any downside to prices to be limited in both scale and duration,” the note added.

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