Oil rose slightly on Friday as a positive demand forecast from the International Energy Agency outweighed gains in the U.S. dollar.
U.S. crude settled up 8 cents at $71.77 a barrel. London Brent crude gained 23 cents to settle at $70.00 a barrel.
The IEA increased its global oil demand growth estimate for 2010, as well as for the rest of 2009.
The move came after the U.S. Energy Information Administration hiked its assumptions for 2010 demand earlier this week, and added to expectations a turnaround in the economy could lift flagging fuel consumption.
The economic crisis has weakened global fuel demand, and pushed crude oil prices off record highs over $147 a barrel in July 2008. Traders have looked toward wider economic data and equities markets for signs of an end to the recession that could push up demand.
The oil market today is sort of trying to balance the competing influences -- the dollar and the stock market, said Brad Samples, analyst, Summit Energy, Louisville, Kentucky.
U.S. stocks rose on expectations of positive news from next week's key earnings reports.
Oil prices were pressured by a stronger U.S. dollar. The greenback found support from comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke indicating that monetary policy might have to be tightened as an economic recovery takes hold.
A stronger dollar tends to weaken oil because dollar-priced commodities become more expensive for buyers using other currencies.
(Additional reporting by Robert Gibbons and Gene Ramos in New York, Emma Farge in London and Felicia Loo in Singapore; Editing by Marguerita Choy)