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Updated from 10:36 a.m. EST

Crude oil closed higher Friday, rebounding somewhat from a six-week low.

The December futures contract was added 79 cents at $49.61 a barrel in Nymex floor trading. Prices had fallen more than 11% in the past seven trading sessions since matching their record high of more than $55.

The recent selloff came amid signs that the U.S. oil industry is recovering from Hurricane Ivan's severe disruption of Gulf of Mexico production. Inventory data in the past two weeks have shown a sizable increase in crude stockpiles.

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News that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had sunk into a coma Thursday also prompted speculation of an improvement in the prospects for Middle East peace talks.

Nevertheless, short-term supply worries are not far from the minds of traders; new sabotage attacks on Iraq's oil pipeline system, the possibility of a strike in Nigeria later this month, and the ongoing tax battle between Russian oil giant Yukos and the government are all potential market drivers.

Almost constant supply worries and unusually strong global demand have driven prices up about 65% this year, making record highs commonplace. Prices topped out at more than $55 a barrel two weeks ago.