© Reuters. Oil prices drop nearly 10% for the week, worst loss in almost two years
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) 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 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%.
The number of oil drilling rigs jumped by 26 to last week, General Electric (NYSE:)’s Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday.
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 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%.
for March edged down 6.6 cents, or 3.4%, to $1.855 a gallon, posting a weekly drop of around 9.7%.
Meanwhile, 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 and to gauge the strength of demand in the world’s largest oil consumer and how fast output levels will continue to rise.
Oil traders will also focus on monthly reports from the and the to assess global oil supply and demand levels.
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.