Oil Futures Settle Sharply Lower As Crude Inventories Rise

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Crude oil prices slid on Friday after data showed a notable rise in U.S. crude inventories in the week ended January 15, and rising coronavirus cases and lockdown measures in several places raised concerns about outlook for energy demand.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures ended lower by $0.86 or about 1.6% at $52.27 a barrel. Gold futures shed about 0.2% in the week.

Data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) this morning showed crude oil stockpiles increased by 4.4 million barrels last week, after falling by 3.2 million barrels a week earlier.

The EIA report said gasoline inventory fell by 300,000 barrels last week, compared to a 4.4 million barrel build in the previous week.

Gasoline production averaged 8.9 million bpd last week, which compared with 7.5 million bpd in the first week of January, the data showed.

According to a report from Baker Hughes, the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose for a ninth straight week, increasing by 2 to 289 this week.

The total active U.S. rig count, which includes those drilling for natural gas, rose by 5 to 378, Baker Hughes said.


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