Oil prices edged higher on Thursday after the International Energy Agency (IEA) said the market was nearing balance, while data showing higher U.S. production kept gains in check.
Benchmark Brent crude futures were up 13 cents at $55.99 a barrel at 1525 GMT, on track for their third straight weekly gain after touching a one-month high on Wednesday.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 22 cents at $53.33 a barrel, also set for a third consecutive weekly gain.
The Paris-based IEA, which advises industrial nations on energy policy, said on Thursday supply and demand in the global oil market was close to matching after a fall in stockpiles in developed countries in March.
“It can be argued confidently that the market is already very close to balance,” the agency said in its monthly report.
The market has been oversupplied for three years, prompting members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and some non-OPEC producers to agree to cut output in the first six months of 2017 to rein in the glut.
OPEC data showed members of the group had cut March output beyond the level they had promised.
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