© Reuters.Investing.com — On one end, the debate is whether there’ll be a pause or hike. On the other, it’s whether a stay or another cut is coming. But Fed hike or OPEC+ cut, May is turning out to be a mixed month for oil bulls despite two straight weeks of gains.New York-traded West Texas Intermediate, or WTI, crude settled Friday’s trade up 84 cents, or 1.2%, at $72.67 per barrel. WTI slumped 3% in the previous session, but still managed to finish up 1.6% on the week after last week’s rise of 2.2%.London-traded Brent crude, the global benchmark for oil, settled up 69 cents, or 0.9%, at $76.95. Brent finished the week up 1.8% after the prior week’s gain of 1.9%.Oil pared Friday’s gains after the Federal Reserve’s favorite gauge for U.S. inflation came in hotter-than-forecast for April, indicating that the central bank will raise interest rates again in June and July versus expectations for a pause.All key metrics in the so-called Personal Consumption Expenditures, or PCE, Index rose for last month against forecast levels as the Fed keenly looked for indicators that would compel a hold on its higher-for-longer monetary policy that has already seen 10 rate hikes over 15 months.For the year to April, the PCE Index expanded at 4.4% versus forecasts for 3.9% and previous growth of 4.2%. For the month of April itself, it jumped 0.4%, as expected and versus a prior expansion of 0.1%.“Core” PCE, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, gained 4.7% on an annualized basis versus both the projected and previous rate of 4.6%. On a monthly basis, it rose 0.4% against the forecast and prior rate of 0.3%.“Inflation is a problem and the consumer remains red hot,” economist Adam Button said on the ForexLive forum. “The Fed is going to hike again and now the odds are 58-42% for June and July is 100% with a slight chance of another hike. At some point the Fed will have to pause and evaluate but we’re lapping some very high energy numbers now and it’s not enough to get inflation to a 3-handle. At minimum, the Fed needs to start seeing some monthly numbers at +0.3% or lower.”Earlier, oil rallied as Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, who is also the nation’s de facto oil minister, walked back his comments from Thursday that suggested that the OPEC+ alliance will not cut output again at its meeting on June 4.OPEC+, an alliance of 13 Saudi-led nations in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and 10 other oil producers steered by Russia, has had limited success over the past two months in trying to push crude prices up with production cuts.In April, OPEC+ announced a 1.7 million-barrel-per-day cut, on top of a prior undertaking to shed 2M barrels daily. After the April cut was announced, crude prices only went up for two weeks, before turning lower over four weeks, erasing some 15%. The earlier reduction fared worse, resulting in just a few days of gains before prices tumbled to 15-month lows in March.Novak, potentially sensing that another cut won’t do much for the group, said on Thursday he was still waiting “for an assessment of the situation in the market.””But I don’t think that there will be any new steps, because just a month ago certain decisions were made regarding the voluntary reduction of oil production by some countries due to the fact that we saw the slow pace of global economic recovery,” he was quoted as saying by the Izvestia newspaper in a report reproduced by Reuters.On Friday though, Novak suggested that Bloomberg had taken his comments out of context, though he did not dispute Reuters reporting.“We do not agree with the fact that Bloomberg misrepresented information, based on an incomplete quotation, declaring Russia’s disagreement with the possibility of making decisions at a future meeting,” the deputy premier said. “Russia will engage in discussions with partners to determine what is best for the market while adhering to all previous decisions.”

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