Investing.com – Oil prices finished lower for a sixth straight session on Friday to tally their worst weekly loss in two years, as investors continued to fret over soaring U.S. output levels.
Steep losses in the global stock market this week and a strengthening dollar also contributed to oil’s losses.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for March delivery sank $1.95, or around 3.2%, to close at $59.20 a barrel. It fell to its worst level since Dec. 22 at $58.07 earlier in the session.
Meanwhile, April Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., tumbled $2.02, or roughly 3.1%, to settle at $62.79 a barrel, after it touched a more than nine-week low of $61.77 earlier in the day.
For the week, WTI crude lost roughly 9.6%, which was the biggest such decline since January 2016, while Brent gave up about 8.5%.
That marked a third straight week of increases and the largest weekly rise in more than a year, implying that further gains in domestic production are ahead.
That came after data on Wednesday showed U.S. oil production, driven by shale extraction, rose to an all-time high of 10.25 million barrels per day (bpd). That figure is above that of top exporter Saudi Arabia and within reach of Russia’s output levels.
That added to fears that rising U.S. output would dampen OPEC’s efforts to rid the market of excess supplies.
The producer group, along with some non-OPEC members led by Russia, agreed in December to extend oil output cuts until the end of 2018.
The deal to cut oil output by 1.8 million barrels a day (bpd) was adopted last winter by OPEC, Russia and nine other global producers. The agreement was due to end in March 2018, having already been extended once.
Among other energy contracts, March gasoline futures slumped 6.4 cents, or 3.6%, to end at $1.700 a gallon on Friday, with prices suffering a weekly loss of around 9.2%.
Heating oil for March edged down 6.6 cents, or 3.4%, to $1.855 a gallon, posting a weekly drop of around 9.7%.
Meanwhile, natural gas futures plunged 11.3 cents, or 4.2%, to $2.584 per million British thermal units, its lowest finish since late February 2017, for a weekly decline of 9.2%.
In the week ahead, market participants will eye fresh weekly information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products on Tuesday and Wednesday to gauge the strength of demand in the world’s largest oil consumer and how fast output levels will continue to rise.
Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties will publish its monthly assessment of oil markets.
The International Energy Agency will release its monthly report on global oil supply and demand.
Later in the day, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, is to publish its weekly report on U.S. oil supplies.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration is to release weekly data on oil and gasoline stockpiles.
The U.S. government will also publish a weekly report on natural gas supplies in storage.
Baker Hughes will release weekly data on the U.S. oil rig count.