Global oil prices steadied on Friday, positioning Brent crude for its first weekly gain in three weeks. Economic indicators from major consumers China and the United States have bolstered hopes for increased demand, contributing to the positive market sentiment.

As of 11:33 GMT, Brent crude oil was down by 13 cents, or 0.2%, at $83.14 a barrel. Meanwhile, U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude lost 17 cents, or 0.2%, to $79.06. Despite these minor declines, Brent is on track for a 0.4% weekly increase, with WTI poised for a 1% gain.

Recent data from China has played a significant role in this optimism. China's industrial output rose by 6.7% year-over-year in April, up from 4.5% in March, signaling a recovery in its manufacturing sector. Additionally, China has announced significant measures to stabilize its crisis-hit property sector, which could further enhance demand.

Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM noted that while the positive Chinese data and a recent attack on Russian oil infrastructure have boosted prices, the market has yet to fully recover from its recent slump. "The lack of explicit enthusiasm is probably the function of tepid product demand depressing refining margins," Varga said.

In Russia, authorities managed to contain a fire at the Tuapse oil refinery, which was reportedly started by a Ukrainian drone attack. This incident, along with declines in oil and refined product inventories at global trading hubs, has generated optimism over demand. This is a reversal of the previous trend of rising stockpiles that had heavily weighed on crude oil prices in recent weeks.

OANDA senior market analyst Kelvin Wong highlighted "several encouraging factors," including two consecutive weeks of decline in U.S. crude stockpiles and expectations of further economic stimulus measures from China. Recent economic indicators from the United States have also fed into the optimism over global demand. U.S. consumer prices rose less than expected in April, boosting expectations of lower interest rates, which could help soften the dollar and make oil cheaper for investors holding other currencies.

On the supply side, investors are eagerly anticipating the upcoming OPEC+ meeting on June 1. The organization faces three possible scenarios: extending, unwinding, or completely removing the voluntary cuts of 2.2 million barrels per day. ANZ Research analysts suggested that an extension of the cuts is the most likely outcome. They warned that removing the cuts could lead to prices falling as low as $75 a barrel, while an extension could create deficits and push prices as high as $100 a barrel.

Positive sentiment toward oil is also being supported by the second consecutive weekly fall in U.S. crude oil stockpiles. Kelvin Wong added that the expectation of more economic stimulus measures from China is further bolstering the bullish mood in the market. "We expect bullish momentum here that could take us back to the highs of $74k," he said.

Despite the optimism, the market remains cautious. The recent attack on Russian oil infrastructure and ongoing geopolitical tensions add an element of uncertainty. Additionally, the impact of U.S. interest rates on the dollar and oil prices continues to be closely monitored by investors.