Oil lower, analysts pare forecasts for 2017 Brent

Brent for May settlement, which expires Friday, slipped 28 cents to $52.68 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Concern that OPEC output cuts have driven a surge in production from rival USA drillers may prevent an extension of the caps - yet prices won't suffer much, according to the chief economist at Russia's state-owned Vnesheconombank.

USA oil futures moderated early Friday on the heels of a second-straight jump, but the benchmark held above the $50-a-barrel mark as investors remained upbeat amid last week's slowdown in domestic inventory growth and renewed hopes producers may extend recent output cuts. The contracts have lost around 7 per cent since the previous quarter, the largest quarterly losses since late 2015. They too are on track to end the quarter around 7% lower, also the worst quarterly losses since late 2015.

Yet concerns about the glut linger as Opec grapples to tighten the oil market because inventories in many parts of the world are at, or near record highs and United States production has been rising.

"There's resistance at $US52 to $US53 a barrel", said Tony Headrick, energy market analyst CHS Hedging.

Brent crude, the worldwide futures contract, advanced 40 cents, or 0.8%, to $53.53 a barrel Friday.

Iraq's exports reached a record of more than 4 million bpd in November, just before the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries announced its agreement to reduce output in the first six months of 2017.

Ford recalling 53000 trucks that can roll away while parked
A total of 4,143 of the affected vehicles were sold in Canada, while the rest were sold in the U.S. In the affected vehicles, the pawl spring tab in the side door latch could break.

OPEC and non-OPEC producers including Russian Federation agreed late last year to cut output by nearly 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) during the first half of the year in order to rein in a global supply overhang and prop up prices.

USA shale oil production using fracking technology has turned the world's largest oil consumer into an exporter of crude and products, while Canada is developing its vast oil sands deposits and Brazil is working on huge offshore fields.

Nevertheless, analysts polled on a monthly basis by Reuters have slightly lowered their oil price expectations for this year.

Forecasts for Brent in 2017 range from a high of $US73 by Raymond James to a low of $US51 by Commerzbank.

"Rising U.S. oil output remains the key downside risk to oil prices over the next year", said Vivek Dhar, a commodities strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

"OPEC just watched the USA rig count double in the last six months", said R.T. Dukes, an analyst at energy research firm Wood Mackenzie in Houston. A final decision on whether or not to extend the deal beyond June will be taken by the oil cartel on May 25. The global benchmark crude was at a premium of $2.71 to WTI.

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