(LONDON) Oil prices rallied slightly on Friday with looming production cuts from some OPEC nations and the arrival of “driving season,” despite lingering global recession fears.

Around 10:15 a.m., a barrel of Brent from the North Sea for delivery in June, of which it is the last day of trading, gained 0.70%, to 78.82 dollars.

Its American equivalent, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI), for delivery the same month, took 0.47%, to 75.12 dollars.

“There are mixed signals” in the oil market, Energi Danmark analysts say, with “the sharp drop in US crude oil inventories on Wednesday, as recession fears loom large in the markets.”

The slowdown in the US economy was confirmed in the first quarter, weighing on crude oil prices by reviving fears of less robust demand in the world’s largest oil consumer.

Gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the United States was only 1.1% annualized, the first tangible sign of the effects of the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) rate hike over the past year to fight against inflation.

This represents “a sharp drop from the 2.6% recorded in the fourth quarter of 2022 and is well below the 2% expected”, points out Stephen Brennock, analyst for PVM Energy.

That said, “demand concerns are not yet supported by hard data,” recalls Carsten Fritsch of Commerzbank, who points out that gasoline consumption rose sharply in the United States last week.

What’s more, it peaks in the summer months, he says, with America’s “driving season,” a nickname given to a period from late May to early September when many Americans go on vacation. by car.

Since the close of trade last Friday, Brent and WTI have fallen more than 4%, losing all the gains accumulated since the announcement of voluntary production cuts by several members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies (OPEC) earlier this month.

These reductions must take place from May and last until the end of 2023.

The supply from OPEC should therefore be reduced by around one million barrels per day from Monday, thus providing some support to the price of crude.

Russia had decided to extend the cut in its crude oil production by 500,000 barrels per day until the end of the year.

“The high figures for Russian oil exports raise doubts that Russia has really reduced its production so far in the announced proportions”, moderates however Barbara Lambrecht, of Commerzbank.