* OPEC+ slightly raises monthly hike in oil output
* U.S. crude inventories fall 5.1 million barrels
* U.S. job growth beats expectations
June 3 (Reuters) - Oil settled higher on Friday, supported
by expectations that OPEC's decision to increase production
targets by slightly more than planned will not add that much to
global supply which should tighten as China eases COVID
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and
allies, known as OPEC+, on Thursday agreed to boost output by
648,000 barrels per day (bpd) a month in July and August rather
than 432,000 bpd as previously agreed.
Brent crude rose $2.11, or 1.8%, to settle at
$119.72 a barrel by 1338 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI)
crude advanced $2, or 1.7%, to $118.87. Both benchmarks
were up by $3 in after hours trading.
U.S. crude notched a sixth weekly gain on tight U.S. supply,
which has prompted talk of fuel export curbs or a windfall tax
on oil and gas producers.
"Yesterdays OPEC+ decision and the ongoing acceleration in
SPR releases is maintaining crude availability at an ample level
especially with demand from the refiners appreciably downsized
from a few years ago," said Jim Ritterbusch, president of
Ritterbusch and Associates LLC in Galena, Illinois.
The output hike could undershoot the pledged amount since
OPEC+ divided the hike across its members and still included
Russia, whose output is falling as sanctions have prompted some
countries to avoid buying its oil since the invasion of Ukraine.
President Joe Biden publicly acknowledged that he may travel
to Saudi Arabia soon, a trip multiple sources said was expected
and could include talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin
The visit would be aimed at bolstering U.S.-Saudi relations
as Biden seeks ways to lower U.S. gasoline prices.
As recently as Wednesday, the White House said Biden still
felt bin Salman was a "pariah" for what U.S. intelligence says
was his role in the killing and dismembering of a political
opponent, Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in Turkey
Supplies remain tight. On Thursday, a U.S. weekly inventory
report showed crude stockpiles fell by a more-than-expected 5.1
million barrels. Gasoline inventories also dropped.
U.S. energy firms this week left oil and natural gas rigs
unchanged at 727 in the week to June 3, Baker Hughes Co BKR.N
said in its closely followed report on Friday.
Demand is rising too. China's financial hub Shanghai and
capital, Beijing, have relaxed COVID-19 restrictions and the
Chinese government has vowed to stimulate the economy.
Oil held gains after U.S. data showed employment increased
more than expected in May, signs of a tight labor market.
(Additional reporting by Sonali Paul in Melbourne and Muyu Xu
in Singapore; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, Edmund Blair and David