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Oil prices close lower but Brent records a sixth week of gains

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) –¬†Oil prices fell on Friday, but Brent crude posted a sixth consecutive week of gains, buoyed by a sharp drop in Venezuela’s output, strong global demand and pending US sanctions on Iran.

Brent closed the session down 79 cents, or 1 percent, to settle at $ 78.51 a barrel. At the previous session, global benchmark crude jumped above $ 80 a barrel for the first time since November 2014 and investors expect more gains to be made in at least the short term due to supply concerns.

Brent ended the week up 1.9 percent, extending its gains since the beginning of the year to about 17.5 percent.

US WTI crude fell 21 cents, or 0.29 percent, to settle at $ 71.28 a barrel and a weekly gain of 0.9 percent, the third consecutive weekly gain.