By Nicole Friedman
NEW YORK--Oil futures bounced higher Friday but held near multimonth lows after concerns about weak demand sent prices tumbling earlier in the week.
Both the U.S. and global benchmark contracts are set to post losses for the week. Weak global demand has left some cargoes in the Atlantic searching for buyers, and worries have receded that ongoing geopolitical crises pose a threat to oil production. Brent fell to its lowest price since June 26, 2013, on Thursday, while the U.S. benchmark hit its lowest settlement since Jan. 21.
Light, sweet oil for September delivery recently traded up 43 cents, or 0.5%, to $96.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global benchmark,recently rose 64 cents, or 0.5%, to $102.71 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
"We're just kind of holding here," said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. "It could be that traders are just a little hesitant to continue to drive it lower, especially going into the weekend," because unrest in Iraq, Ukraine or elsewhere could worsen before markets reopen on Monday, he said.
Prices dropped overnight on indications that tensions could ease in Iraq and Ukraine. Iraq's prime minister relinquished power on Thursday, a move that "paves the way for a new government to close the gap between the country's various ethnic and religious groups and take action against the terrorist faction Islamic State," said Commerzbank in a note.
Also on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin adopted a softer tone and said his country doesn't want a confrontation with the West over Ukraine.
Front-month September reformulated gasoline blendstock, or RBOB, recently traded up 2.34 cents, or 0.9%, to $2.6900 a gallon.
September diesel rose 0.98 cent, or 0.4%, to $2.8293 a gallon.
Write to Nicole Friedman at email@example.com
Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 15, 2014 09:54 ET (13:54 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2014 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.