U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures gained 57 cents, or 1.5%, to $39.29 at 0431 GMT but were on track for a slight drop for the week.
Brent crude LCOc1 futures rose 64 cents, or 1.6%, to $41.69 and were also heading for a small decline for the week.
Analysts said satellite data showing a strong pick-up in traffic in China, Europe and across the United States pointed to an improvement in fuel demand.
Congestion in Shanghai in the past few weeks was higher than in the same period last year, while in Moscow traffic was back to last year’s levels, data provided to Reuters by location technology company TomTom showed.
However, there are fears a spike in COVID-19 infections in southern U.S. states could stall the demand recovery, especially as some of those states, such as Florida and Texas, are among the biggest gasoline consumers.
The global economic outlook has also worsened or at best stayed about the same in the past month, a majority of economists polled by Reuters said, and the recession underway is expected to be deeper than earlier predicted.
“It does appear the market is ignoring supply and demand fundamentals and moving on sentiment,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.
The prospect of increased U.S. crude production also kept a lid on gains on Friday.
A survey of executives in the top U.S. oil and gas producing region by the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank found more than half of executives who cut production expect to resume some output by the end of July.
WTI would have to be between $36 and $41 a barrel for a majority of producers to restore output, nearly a third said in the survey. Another 27% said prices would have to range between $41 and $45 per barrel.