MTECHTIPS:-WTI oil futures fall below $60 on U.S. supply outlook
West Texas Intermediate oil futures retreated on Thursday, as ongoing worries over high domestic U.S. oil production, despite a declining rig count, weighed. According to industry research group Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI), the number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. fell by 4 last week to 631. The drop marks the 28th straight week of declines. However, U.S. oil production has held around 9.6 million barrels a day, the highest level since the early 1970s. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for August delivery shed 42 cents, or 0.7%, to trade at $59.85 a barrel during U.S. morning hours. A day earlier, Nymex oil lost 74 cents, or 1.21%, to end at $60.27 after data showed that U.S. motor gasoline inventories rose by 0.7 million barrels last week, while distillate stockpiles increased by 1.8 million barrels. Energy traders have been paying close attention to gasoline stockpiles in recent weeks as the U.S. driving season entered its peak gasoline demand period. Total crude oil inventories fell by 4.9 million barrels last week to 463.0 million, compared to expectations for a drop of 2.1 million barrels to 465.8 million. Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for August delivery inched down 21 cents, or 0.34%, to trade at $63.28 a barrel. On Wednesday, Brent futures dropped 96 cents, or 1.49%, to close at $63.49. The spread between the Brent and the WTI crude contracts stood at $3.43 a barrel, compared to $3.22 by close of trade on Wednesday.