Oil rose above $73 a barrel on Friday, lifted by slightly better than expected GDP and jobs data out of the United States, though traders said it was still rangebound between $70 and $75 for the week.

U.S. crude for October gained 86 cents to $73.35 a barrel by 1331 GMT (9:31 a.m. EDT). London Brent rose 76 cents to $73.28.

You could say that's a tight range, but five dollars is a huge range in relative terms. The rise from yesterday was more technically driven, and we are right back at the same levels we were before, said analyst Eugen Weinberg at Commerzbank.

Oil is heading for a flat close on the week after on Tuesday touching its highest level in 10 months at $75 a barrel.

Data on Friday showed the U.K. economy shrank slightly less than expected in the second quarter after official statisticians upgraded their estimates of industrial output.

The British data follows Thursday numbers out of the U.S. showing a similar less-than-expected GDP Q2 decrease in the world's largest economy, as well as fewer workers filing new claims for jobless benefits last week.

The US GDP was not revised lower (which was a positive surprise), the weekly jobless numbers provided no surprises...the issuance of green shoots continues, Olivier Jakob at PetroMatrix wrote in a note.


The dollar rose against a basket of major currencies, recovering somewhat from overnight losses, while the commodity-related Australian dollar edged higher against the yen.

The Dollar Index is not able to (set a) trend and after a strong rebound on Wednesday it had a strong correction yesterday. It is hovering around the 78.300 level and its current gyration is not helping crude oil to trade outside of a range, Jakob said.

Some analysts said stronger economic data in the short-term could not overcome a gloomier long-term outlook.

Despite our confidence in the recovery process over the next six months, there is precious little indication from the energy side that industrial activity in the U.S. is recovering, analysts at J.P. Morgan wrote in their Oil Markets Weekly note.

Gasoline demand remains weak (and may even be declining), jet-fuel has troughed at a low level, and the middle distillate market remains on a disturbingly aggressive downward path.

Unsold crude stored in tankers at sea continued to hang over the oil market but had declined since the spring.

Norway's Frontline, the world's biggest independent oil tanker shipping group, said it estimated that 40 to 45 very large crude carriers (VLCCs), or around 10 percent of the world fleet, were storing crude oil.

Frontline had told Reuters on August 6 that around 50 VLCCs were being used to store around 100 million barrels of oil, down from a peak of around 60 VLCCs in April.

(Additional reporting by Ramthan Hussain in Singapore, editing by Keiron Henderson)