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Oil surges 5% on freeze hopes, economic growth

Oil prices rose as much as 5 percent on Friday, lifted by fresh hopes over a proposed freeze in oil production and firm economic indicators from the United States and Germany that cast a positive light on growth in fuel demand.

Russia's oil production could fall in April, sources said, while the country's energy minister expressed hopes that producer nations could agree to an output freeze at a meeting in Doha later this month.

Front month U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were trading up $1.93, or 5.2 percent, at $39.19 per barrel at 8:50 a.m. ET (1250 GMT). International Brent futures were up $1.79, or 4.5 percent, at $41.22 a barrel.

"You have declining supply in the United States and a declining rig rate," said Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst with SEB Bank in Oslo. "You mix that with outages in Nigeria ... and put Doha on top of it, and your eyes are looking towards the tightening of the market."

U.S...


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