Oil prices are up but were unable to regain losses

Oil prices edged higher but failed to retrace this week’s more than 8% decline as fears over demand in major consumer nations rose again.

Brent futures advanced 73 cents, 1.01%, to $73.07 a barrel. U.S. WTI crude added 49 cents, or 0.72%, to $69.09, after falling to $63,642 earlier in the session.

Prices fell this week on risks to the U.S. economy and signs of lower production growth in top oil importer China. This limited new prospects for economic advancement.

The market got some support from the Fed’s signal that it may hold off on raising interest rates to give officials time to assess the effects of recent bank volatility.

Russia cuts production as OPEC begins voluntary cuts

OPEC and its allies began voluntary production cuts earlier this month.

Russia’s deputy prime minister said the country is making good on its promise to cut oil production by 500,000 barrels by the end of this year.

Investors are also awaiting developments from the EU Central Bank, which is set to increase interest rates.

Shell earnings

British oil giant Shell posted stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings.

Shell reported adjusted revenue of $9.62 billion for the first months of the year, beating analysts’ expectations of $8.62 billion.

The company posted adjusted revenue of $9.12 billion in the same period last year.

Shares of the oil major were up 2.25% in mid-morning trade.

Shell kept its share buyback program steady for three months, and its dividend unchanged at $0.2876 per share.

Shell said its quarterly results reflected improved operational performance. Also, the positive effects of fuel trading and optimization offset the effect of low oil and gas prices.

The company reported first-quarter debt of $44.22 billion.

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