Crude oil futures settled the Friday trading session lower as more oil and gas rigs come online. Oil prices squeaked out a weekly gain, but it was still a volatile week for US crude amid concerns over foreign demand. Still, prices were able to close out the trading week above the crucial psychological $40 level.
December West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures fell $0.21, or 0.51%, to $40.75 per barrel at 20:04 GMT on Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. US crude will record a modest weekly increase of 0.57%, but it is still down 33.4% year-to-date.
Brent, the international benchmark for oil prices, ended the session and the week lower. December Brent crude futures dipped $0.12, or 0.28% to $42.81 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange. Brent prices posted a weekly drop of 0.05%, bringing its 2020 decline to 35.18%.
According to Baker Hughes, the crude oil rig count increased to 205 in the week ending October 16, up from 189 in the previous week. This is the first time that the oil rig count topped 200 since June. The total rig count in the United States also rose from 269 to 282.
Over the weekend, analysts will be monitoring the latest developments surrounding next week’s virtual
Joint OPEC-Non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee, or JMMC. The cartel and its allies, OPEC+, will be monitoring compliance regarding production cuts.
Market observers note that OPEC and OPEC+ have soothed markets in recent sessions as they signal that they are supporting the global oil market’s path to balance. Russia and Saudi Arabia reiterated their commitment to the organization’s output cut agreement, months after the two sides engaged in a price war. At the same time, investors are concerned about Libya’s crude production revival that might add to international supplies.
On the data front, US industrial production and manufacturing output fell for the first time in five months, which surprised traders who had anticipated steady growth. This reading is important because factory activity is a pertinent factor in the energy sector’s post-coronavirus recovery.
In other energy commodities, November natural gas futures shed $0.077, or 2.77%, to $2.698 per million British thermal units (btu). November gasoline futures fell $0.0147, or 1.25%, to $1.1653 per gallon. November heating oil futures slid $0.0135, or 1.14%, to $1.1752 a gallon.