Oil down on profit-taking

LONDON, February 2, 2018 – Crude oil prices moved lower on Friday, as traders locked in profits following the commodity’s recent rally amid overall optimism over the rebalancing of the market.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude March contract was down $1.05 or about 1.55% at $64.77 a barrel by 04:00 a.m. ET (08:00 GMT).

Elsewhere, Brent oil for April delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London lost $1.30 cents or about 1.88% to $68.35 a barrel.

Oil prices were boosted after a report on Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration showed strong U.S. demand for gasoline and distillates along with weekly declines in domestic supplies of the petroleum products.

 

However, the EIA also said that U.S. crude supplies rose 6.8 million barrels last week, which marked the first increase in 11 weeks.

The report added that U.S. crude oil production edged up by 41,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 9.919 million bpd, the highest level since the early 1970s and close to the output of top producers Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Analysts and traders have recently warned that U.S. shale oil producers could ramp up production as they look to take advantage of higher prices, potentially derailing OPEC‘s effort to curb excess supply.

Oil prices were also supported after a Reuters survey on Thursday showed that adherence by producers included in the OPEC deal to curb supply rose to 138% from 137% in December.

Elsewhere, gasoline futures tumbled 2.40% to $1.859 a gallon, while natural gas futures declined 0.42% to $2.844 per million British thermal units.

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