Crude prices drifted weaker in Asia Today
Crude prices drifted weaker in Asia on Friday with U.S. rig count figures the next piece of the weekly supply and demand picture in the U.S. ahead.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for April delivery eased 0.17% to $54.36 a barrel, while on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent was last quoted at $56.49 a barrel.
On Friday, weekly figures from oilfield services provider Baker Hughes are due on U.S. rig activity. Last week, Baker Hughes said the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose by six , the fifth weekly increase in a row. That brought the total count to 597, the most since November 2015.
Overnight, crude futures settled higher on Thursday, after the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report showed a surprise fall in U.S. inventories.
Oil prices settled higher, buoyed by bullish inventory data, which eased concerns that record levels of supply may curb OPEC’s efforts to correct the demand and supply imbalance in the industry.
For the week ending February 17, The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said that crude oil inventories rose by 564,000 barrels, compared to estimates of an increase of 3.745 million barrels. Gasoline inventories decreased by 2.628 million against expectations for a draw of only 0.888 million barrels while distillate stockpiles fell by 4.924 million barrels, compared to expectations of a 0.483 million decline.
Crude prices remained supported by OPEC, after the oil cartel signalled the possibility of further cuts, following comments from OPEC Secretary General, Mohammed Barkindo.
In November last year, The OPEC and other producers, including Russia agreed to cut output by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in an effort to combat the oversupply issue that has pressured prices over the last two years.
A committee of OPEC and non-OPEC countries met this week and declared nations outside the cartel met 86% of its 558,000 bpd cut quota in January with Russia the main producer in the group and the world’s second largest exporter behind Saudi Arabia. OPEC is slated to meet in late March to review the overall adherence to the deal.