Oil rose over $73 a barrel on Friday, off a seven-week high, ahead of further pointers on the economic health of the United States, the world's top energy consumer.

By 1005 GMT, the new front month U.S. crude futures contract for October delivery was up 24 cents at $73.15 a barrel, off a seven-week high of $73.24. London Brent crude for October was up 32 cents at $73.65

Oil was on track for a 7.3 percent gain this week, and if the front-month price touches $73.39 today it will be a new 10-month high.

Overall it's a relatively quiet market, with the dollar slightly weaker against the euro. Combined with slightly higher stock markets, that is partly why commodity prices are fairly stable right now, said broker Tony Machacek at Bache Commodities.

The market will scour Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech before the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Economic Symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming at 1400 GMT on Friday for more clues on the health of the world's largest economy.

The U.S. National Association of Realtors will also release existing home sales for July at 1400 GMT. Economists forecast a total of 5.00 million annualised units versus 4.89 million in June.

As yet, there were few signs of recovering U.S. fuel demand. Freight traffic across North America fell 17.9 percent in the week ended August 15 from the same 2008 week, a trade group said on Thursday in a weekly report. On the supply front, increased oil output to a year-high from OPEC president Angola, flouting agreed limits, has stacked the odds against any change when the producer group meets next month.

Without a sharp slide in crude prices, OPEC is likely to leave its output targets unchanged when it meets on September 9, most OPEC delegates and analysts said.

(Additional reporting by Jennifer Tan in Singapore)