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Oil Futures Settle Sharply Lower On Demand Worries

Crude oil prices fell to a six-week low on Friday amid concerns about outlook for demand from China, and easing worries about supply.

A firm dollar weighed as well on oil prices. Hawkish remarks from several Fed officials this week indicate the central bank might continue to be aggressive with interest rate hikes.

St Louis Fed President James Bullard said the central bank needs to keep raising interest rates as its tightening has only 'limited effects on observed inflation'.

Separately, Minneapolis Fed Bank President Neel Kashkari said the U.S. central bank should not stop rate hikes until it's clear that inflation has peaked.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December dropped to $80.08, down $1.56 or about 1.9%. WTI crude futures shed about 10% this week, after having posted a loss of about 4% in the previous week.

Brent crude futures were down $2.10 or 2.3% at 87.68 a barrel a little while ago. Brent crude futures lost nearly 9% in the week, adding to a 2.6% decline a week earlier.

A report from Baker Hughes said the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose by one to 623 this week, rising for a third straight weak. Oil rigs has rose by nine in the previous week.

The report said the total active U.S. rig count, including those drilling for natural gas, rose by three to 782 this week.

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