MTECHTIPS:-Crude mixed after massive sell-off, as U.S. oil rigs end 29-week draw
Crude futures were mixed after Wednesday’s massive sell-off, amid a weaker dollar as U.S. oil rigs increased last week for the first week since early December. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, WTI crude for August delivery fell 0.02 or 0.04% to 56.94 a barrel turning negative after a late sell-off. On Thursday, Texas Long Sweet futures traded in a tight range between 56.80 and 57.95, falling slightly back from session-highs in U.S. afternoon trading. Oil Services firm Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI) said in its weekly rig count on Thursday that oil rigs in the U.S. last week increased by 12 to 640, halting a 29 week streak of weekly draws. A week earlier, U.S. oil rigs fell by three to 628 the lowest total since August, 2010. One day earlier, WTI crude futures plunged more than 4% to close under $57 a barrel after an unexpected build in U.S. crude stockpiles last week. In its Weekly Petroleum Status report, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said U.S. inventories last week rose by 2.4 million barrels, halting an eight week streak of weekly draws. U.S. crude stockpiles are now at 465.4 million barrels, near its highest level at this time of year in at least 80 years. Analysts had expected a draw of 2 million barrels. Energy traders are keeping a close eye on U.S. crude inventories amid a glut of oversupply in global markets which has underpinned prices for the last eight months. Elsewhere, U.K. foreign secretary Philip Hammond told the Wall Street Journal that talks between western powers and Iran on a comprehensive nuclear agreement have yet to reach “a breakthrough moment.” It came one day after premature reports of significant progress in negotiations helped contribute to Wednesday’s sell-off. After Wednesday’s close, a senior U.S. government official refuted the reports for a lack of accuracy, according to NBC News.