Crude oil futures settled sharply higher on Friday, but still posted a weekly loss due to concerns about outlook for energy demand, and recent data showing a jump in crude inventories in the U.S.
Oil prices moved up today as ceasefire talks between Ukraine and Russia failed to yield a breakthrough.
The White House reportedly warned Beijing that providing military or economic assistance for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will trigger severe consequences from Washington and beyond.
Later, U.S. President Joe Biden spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping for nearly two hours on Friday morning to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
It is not known as yet whether Biden has convinced China to turn down Russian requests for military and economic aid.
West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended higher by $1.72 or about 1.7% at $104.70 a barrel. WTI crude oil futures shed more than 3% in the week.
Brent crude futures were up $1.08 or 1.01% at $107.72 a little while ago.
Data released by U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) earlier this week showed crude oil inventories in the U.S. rose by 4.345 million barrels last week, as against expectations for a draw of 1.375 million barrels.
A downward revision in oil demand forecast by the International Energy Agency (IEA) weighed as well on oil prices. The IEA lowered its forecast for world oil demand for the second to fourth quarters of 2022 by 1.3 million bpd noting rising commodity prices and sanctions on Russia “are expected to appreciably depress global economic growth” and impact inflation.
According to a report from Baker Hughes, U.S. energy firms this week reduced the number of oil rigs even as crude prices continued to trade over $100 a barrel after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine stoked global energy supply concerns.
Oil rig count dropped by 3 this week, the second decline in three weeks. Despite the decline in oil rigs, the total rig count remained unchanged because drillers added some natural gas and other rigs this week.