MTECHTIPS:-NYMEX crude down in Asia as investors

MTECHTIPS:-NYMEX crude down in Asia as investors cautious ahead of Greek referendum

Crude oil prices took a sharpy dip in Asia on Friday as investors see few demand triggers and the possibility of financial market volatility next week after Greece voters go to the polls at the weekend on a referendum whether to accept a bailout package from international creditors. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, WTI crude for August delivery fell 0.66% to $56.56 a barrel. Overnight, 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. 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.”

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