Oil edges higher but on track for big weekly loss

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SINGAPORE (Oct 4): Oil futures edged higher on Friday but were on track for a large weekly loss on fears that slower global economic growth will hurt fuel demand, while Saudi Arabia said it has fully restored oil output after recent attacks.

Brent crude oil futures rose 8 cents, or 0.1%, to $57.79 a barrel by 0138 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 12 cents, or 0.2%, to $52.57 a barrel.

For the week, Brent futures were down 6.7%, marking its largest weekly loss since December, while WTI was down 6%, its biggest decline since July.

Weak U.S. services sector and jobs growth data on Thursday added to worries about global oil demand and exacerbated fears that a protracted U.S.-China trade war could push the global economy into a recession.

"Concerns about global oil demand are rising, and next week's U.S.-China trade talks, the significant X factor, will be particularly important, given the sharp drop in the oil price over the last week," said Stephen Innes, Asia Pacific market strategist at AxiTrader.

Saudi Arabia's energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman also said on Thursday the world's top crude oil exporter has fully restored oil output after attacks on its facilities last month that knocked out more than 5% of global oil supply.

"The mood wasn't helped by news that Saudi Arabia has managed a speedy recovery from the recent attacks," ANZ Bank said in a note on Friday.

However, recent data showing a slowdown in U.S. shale output and drilling activity could lend some support.

"Continued falls in drilling activity has seen monthly growth in U.S. shale oil output fall, from 150 thousand barrels per day (kbpd) to only 50 kbpd," said ANZ.

"This is likely to linger well into 2020." - Reuters