By Laila Kearney
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil futures were little changed on Friday, on track for losses on the week in renewed concerns about slowing global demand.
Brent crude futures gained 27 cents to $61.90 a barrel by 12:56 p.m. EST (1756 GMT). On the week, they were set for a loss of around 1.5 percent.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 5 cents to $52.59 a barrel and approached a weekly slump of nearly 5 percent, the steepest this year.
U.S. President Donald Trump said at an event at the White House on Thursday he did not plan to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping before a March 1 deadline set by the two countries to reach a trade deal.
Separately, lawmakers advanced a bill known as the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act, or NOPEC, in the U.S. House of Representatives, which stands a better chance of being signed than in years past. The bill could target OPEC producers for anti-trust behaviour in their efforts to control prices.
The oil industry is opposed to the bill, but Trump in the past has voiced support for legislation of this type. A senior Trump administration official on Friday said the United States does not "support market-distorting behaviour, including cartels" when asked whether Trump approves of the legislation.
"I think Donald Trump is willing to sign the bill if it gets through Congress," said Phil Flynn, oil analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. Surging U.S. oil production has put the country in a better position to challenge OPEC than in previous attempts, Flynn said.
The strong dollar, which was on track for its best week in six months, also weighed on oil.
Supply cuts lent some support to prices. OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia reduced its output in January by about 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 10.24 million bpd, OPEC sources said on Thursday.
Another risk to supply comes from Venezuela after the implementation of U.S. sanctions against the OPEC member's petroleum industry in late January. Analysts expect this move to knock out 300,000 to 500,000 bpd of exports.
(Additional reporting by Shadia Nasralla in London and Henning Gloystein in Singapore; Editing by Chris Reese)
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)