Brent holds above $59, up more than 3 pct on week

Brent rises for second day; March contract expires

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Benchmark Brent crude held above $59 in Asia on Friday, up more than 3 percent this week as news of deeper industry spending cuts and a sinking U.S. dollar revived buying.

Brent crude for April delivery was trading up 48 cents at $59.76 by 0428 GMT.

March Brent futures, which expired overnight, rose more than 4 percent to $57.05 on Thursday, following a 3-percent loss in the previous day's session.

U.S. crude futures were up 55 cents at $51.76, following similar swings earlier in the week.

“Brent April 15 seem to be trending very near to the resistance of $60.40 suggesting that it would more likely trend downwards as prices consolidate after yesterday’s rise,” Daniel Ang of Phillip Futures in Singapore wrote in a note.

Wang Tao, a market analyst at Reuters, said Brent would test resistance at $63.40.

Preliminary quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) figures for Germany and the Eurozone are due on Friday, and could support prices if up slightly.

Amid this week’s ups and downs, oil volatility reached its highest level since the financial crisis, jolting traders who had been adjusting to a period of predictable declines following a near 60-percent crude crash between June and January.

The discount for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) versus Brent crude also expanded to around $7.17 a barrel intraday, the widest in five months, as U.S. oil tanks swelled.

French energy major Total on Thursday became the latest to announce investment and job cuts following a near-halving of oil prices since June.

Meanwhile, the chief executive of Shell warned that supply might not be able to keep up with growing demand as companies slash budgets.

Elsewhere, Apache Corp, a top U.S. shale oil producer, said it would slash capital expenditures and its rig count in 2015 as the collapse of crude oil prices prompts it to slow drilling, keeping output growth mostly flat.