NEW YORK Oil prices were steady on Friday, on track for a second consecutive weekly gain, after data from top energy consumers the United States and China boosted the oil demand outlook.
Data showing a third straight weekly build in the U.S. oil rig count had little bearish impact on the market.
U.S. energy companies added six rigs drilling for oil during the week to July 15, bringing the total rig count up to 357, compared with 638 a year ago, industry firm Baker Hughes Inc said.
Brent crude futures were up 26 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $47.62 by 1:10 p.m. EDT (1710 GMT). It slipped as much as 1.5 percent earlier to a session low of $46.65.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures rose 20 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $45.88. The intraday low was $45.05.
Brent was on track for a weekly gain of about 2 percent and WTI around 1 percent after a volatile week. The market saw daily moves of up to 5 percent earlier this week as the market corrected from last week's near 8-percent slump and reacted to bearish U.S. oil inventory data.
Oil prices hit session highs on Friday after data showed U.S. retail sales rose more than expected in June as Americans bought motor vehicles and a variety of other goods, reinforcing views of steady economic growth in the second quarter. Consumer prices also rose for a fourth straight month.
China's economic growth, which came in at 6.7 percent in the second quarter versus a year ago, also bolstered the market.
Concerns about a global glut in crude and refined products had weighed on oil earlier in the session.
(Additional reporting by Ron Bousso in LONDON and Aaron Sheldrick in TOKYO; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Chizu Nomiyama)
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Published Date: Jul 16, 2016 12:00 am | Updated Date: Jul 16, 2016 12:00 am