Oil prices dip but retain support
LONDON, January 12, 2018 – Crude oil prices pulled back on Friday, as investors locked in profits from the commodity’s climb to a three-year high in the previous session amid overall optimism regarding the rebalancing of the market.
The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude February contract was down 21 cents or about 0.33% at $63.59 a barrel by 10:00 a.m. ET (14:00 GMT), off Thursday’ three-year peak of $64.77.
Elsewhere, Brent oil for March delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London slipped 12 cents or about 0.17% to $69.14 a barrel, after hitting a three-year higher of $70.05 on Thursday.
Oil prices remained supported since the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday that crude oil inventories fell by 4.9 million barrels in the week ended January 5, compared to analysts’ expectations for a decline of 3.9 million barrels.
The report also showed that U.S. crude oil production fell by 290,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 9.49 million bpd.
Oil prices also continue to be undepinned by production cut efforts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia. The producers agreed in December to extend current 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.
On a slightly less positive note, data earlier Friday showed that China’s crude imports declined 9% to 7.97 million bpd in December.
Elsewhere, gasoline futures dipped 0.05% to $1.831 a gallon, while natural gas futures gained 1.07% to $3.115 per million British thermal units.