Crude Oil Futures Settle Sharply Lower

Crude oil futures settled sharply lower on Friday, weighed down by concerns over excess supply and a weak outlook for energy demand due to rising coronavirus cases across the world.

However, despite today’s fall, oil futures ended with a weekly gain thanks largely to optimism over a potential coronavirus vaccine.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December ended down $0.99 or about 2.4% at $40.13 a barrel.

Brent crude futures were lower by $0.75 or 1.7% at $42.78 a barrel.

For the week, WTI crude oil futures gained about 8%.

Data from U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday showed crude inventories in the U.S. rose by about 4.3 million barrels last week compared to expectations for a drop of 913,000 barrels.

A Reuters report citing a Libyan oil source said oil production in Libya rose to 1.215 million barrels per day, up from 1.04 million barrels per day reported a week earlier by National Oil Corp.

Meanwhile, a report from Baker Hughes this afternoon showed the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose by 10 to 236 this week, rising for an eighth successive week.

The total active U.S. rig count, meanwhile, was up 12 to 312, according to Baker Hughes.

In Covid-19 updates, Europe is already grappling with a sharp increase in infections and new social restrictions, while the United States again shattered records on Thursday, reporting more than 153,000 new coronavirus cases.

It is feared that rising Covid cases will continue to hold back an economic recovery, including fuel demand.

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