[SINGAPORE] Crude prices rose on Friday after losses of more than 3 per cent a day earlier, with investors treading cautiously ahead of key US employment data that will help gauge the health of the world's largest economy and oil consumer.
Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude futures are on track for their biggest weekly losses since mid-January, hit by oil inventory builds and weak US manufacturing data.
Investors are also sceptical that Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and other producers such as Russia will agree to cut production at a meeting in Algeria later this month despite Saudi Arabia's efforts to boost prices.
Brent crude had climbed 50 US cents to US$45.95 a barrel by 0043 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 47 US cents at US$43.63 a barrel.
"Downward momentum is a feature of the oil market," said CMC Markets analyst Ric Spooner. "The end of the US driving season and the prospect of building inventories create downward risk for the oil price and may see further pressure on energy stocks today."
Investors are looking ahead to non-farm payroll data later in day to gauge the health of the US economy, with a strong reading seen boosting the chance of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike soon.
A rate rise may strengthen the US dollar, which could depress oil prices as it would make the US dollar-denominated commodity more expensive for holders of other currencies.