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Oil Futures Fall Sharply, Settle 6.8% Down At 4-week Low

Crude oil prices fell sharply on Friday amid mounting fears about a possible global economic recession following severe tightening of policies by several central banks, including the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England.

The U.S. dollar's sharp uptick - the dollar index climbed to 105.09, before paring some gains - weighed as well on oil prices. The dollar index surged to a fresh two-decade high of 105.79 earlier in the week.

Oil prices climbed higher earlier in the session, reacting to news about new U.S. sanctions on Iran and a pledge by China's cabinet that it will accelerate the implementation of a raft of pro-growth policies to stabilize the world's second-largest economy.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for July ended lower by as much as $8.03 or about 6.8% at $109.56 a barrel, a four-week low. The most active crude oil futures contract shed over 9% in the week, after gaining from seven successive weeks.

Brent crude futures were down $6.00 or 5.06% at $113.81 a barrel a little while ago.

A report from Baker Hughes said active oil and gas drilling rigs in the U.S. rose by 7 to 740 in the week, about 57% above year-ago levels.

Drilling rigs increased by 4 to 584, while gas rigs climbed by three to 154, the report said.

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