NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices edged down in end-of-range trading on Friday amid rising supplies from major producers and concerns over a mixed picture of the impact of the COVID pandemic- 19 on the fuel demand.
Brent futures for June fell 16 cents, or 0.3%, to $ 63.04 a barrel at 1:38 p.m. EDT (5:38 p.m. GMT). US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for May was $ 59.38, down 22 cents.
Both contracts are on track for a 2% to 3% drop this week, but still far from a low of $ 60.47 reached two weeks ago.
Downward pressure has been exerted by the decision of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, known as OPEC +, to increase supplies by 2 million barrels per day between May and July.
“The favorable outlook for oil demand is more than offset by the expected increase in OPEC + production which could approach 2 million barrels per day by the end of July,” said Jim Ritterbusch, President of Ritterbusch and Associates in Galena, Illinois.
Meanwhile, U.S. drillers have kept the number of oil rigs unchanged this week, energy services firm Baker Hughes Co said on Friday, with analysts predicting more rigs would be needed to keep production stable.
Renewed lockdowns in parts of the world and problems with vaccination programs could threaten demand for oil.
Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at Axi, said oil prices are expected to trade between $ 60 and $ 70 as investors weigh these factors.
“There is a real push-pull in the market based on accelerating vaccination, increasing production and further lockdowns, which is why we are moving to the side,” said John Kilduff, partner. at Again Capital LLC in New York.
Talks to bring Iran and the United States fully back into the 2015 nuclear deal are progressing, delegates said Friday, but Iranian officials said they disagreed with Washington on sanctions to lift.