Oil futures mixed, face weekly decline as glut fears persist

Crude oil futures were mixed in early Asian trading on Friday after big falls in the previous session as investors reassessed US data showing growing supplies of petroleum, while Iraqi crude exports are on the rise.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 2 cents at $44.73 a barrel at 0136 GMT. The contract fell 2.2 percent, the previous day.

Brent crude LCOc1 was up 5 cents at $46.25 a barrel. The global benchmark closed 97 cents, or 2.1 percent, lower on Thursday. Brent is on track for a decline of around 3 percent this week.

Iraq's oil exports are set to rise in July, according to loading data and an industry source, putting supply growth from OPEC's second-largest producer back on track after two months of declines.

Iraq in 2015 provided OPEC's biggest rise in supply. The growth has slowed this year due to maintenance and technical problems, and Iraqi officials say seasonally higher domestic use has curbed volumes available for export.

Exports from southern Iraq in the first 21 days of July have averaged 3.28 million barrels per day (bpd), according to loading data tracked by Reuters and an industry source. That would be up from 3.18 million bpd in June.

This year it is Iran that is supplying the biggest increase in exports from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries as the country recovers from Western sanctions.

While US production has been falling, crude inventories are at a historically high of 519.5 million barrels for this time of year, the EIA said earlier this week.

Also, total US crude and oil product stocks rose 2.62 million barrels to an all-time high of 2.08 billion barrels as gasoline stocks posted a surprise build of 911,000 barrels during summer driving season.