Oil extended gains on Friday and was set for its biggest weekly rise in over six years, after U.S. Federal Reserve minutes suggested there was no hurry to raise interest rates and an influential forecaster predicted a price rally.
Brent, the global benchmark, was up 60 cents at $53.65 a barrel at 0844 GMT, on track to rise 11 percent this week alone. U.S. crude was up 77 cents at $50.20 a barrel after rising as far as $50.58, the highest level in more than two months
The U.S. central bank`s meeting minutes showed more policymakers than expected agreed to keep the first interest rate hike in a decade on hold. The news also supported equity markets on Friday, with top European stocks climbing to a one-month high.
Forecaster PIRA Energy Group issued a bullish oil price prediction on Thursday, saying oil would hit $70 a barrel by the end of next year and to trade at $75 in 2017.
"The Fed minutes and the PIRA price forecast are driving prices today," said Tamas Varga, oil analyst at London brokerage PVM Oil Associates.
"The rally may sustain for the short term but it should run out of steam some time next week because we are in a generally oversupplied market."
Energy Aspects is forecasting Brent to average $68 in 2016 and $98 in 2017, analyst Richard Mallinson told the Platts Asian Crude Oil Summit in Singapore on Friday.
After the July nuclear agreement, Iran will ramp up exports much slower than expected by the market, Mallinson said.
If sanctions are eased, Iran will be able to increase crude exports by 250,000 to 400,000 barrels a day by around mid-2016. After that, significant extra volumes will only come in 2017 or 2018, Mallinson said.
Investors were awaiting indications on U.S. production with the weekly Baker Hughes rig count expected later on Friday.
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