Crude oil futures will finish the session slightly lower, but they will record a weekly surge of about 7%. Oil prices have benefited from a broad array of developments in recent sessions, and market analysts say that energy markets are due for a modest pullback. Investors are now combing through the latest rig count numbers in the US to monitor domestic production levels.
May West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures tumbled $0.14, or 0.22%, to $63.32 per barrel at 17:49 GMT on Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. US crude will enjoy a weekly rally of 7%, bringing its year-to-date surge to 31%.
Brent, the international benchmark for oil prices, will finish the trading week below $67. June Brent crude futures shed $0.04, or 0.06%, to $66.90 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange. Brent will also post a weekly boost of 6%, bringing its 2021 gain to below 30%.
The Baker Hughes Oil Rig Count increased to a four-month high of 344 in the week ending April 16, up from 337 in the previous week. The total crude rig count edged up to 439, up from 432 in the previous week.
Earlier this week, there were multiple bullish forces at work to drive up the price of crude. The International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) projected higher oil demand this year. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported its third consecutive weekly decline in domestic inventories.
Investors are also keeping an eye on several geopolitical developments, including the new US sanctions on Russia and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels attacking Saudi Arabia. Demand is also weighing on crude markets, with India recording a massive surge in coronavirus infections and Germany warning that the third wave of COVID-19 is gripping the country.
In other energy commodities, May natural gas futures jumped $0.028, or 1.05%, to $2.686 per million British thermal units (btu). May gasoline futures dipped $0.0028, or 0.14%, to $2.0488 per gallon. May heating oil futures shed $0.0021, or 0.11%, to $1.8968 a gallon.