Oil prices dip on Friday, up slightly for the week




Oil prices settled lower on Friday but rose slightly for the week due to a weaker dollar and an improved 2024 demand outlook after weeks of losses.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures for January fell by 15 cents, or 0.21%, settling at $71.43 per barrel. Brent for February dropped by 6 cents, or 0.08%, to settle at $76.55.

Both crude types posted weekly gains of less than 1%, which were not very convincing and were primarily driven by Thursday's rally fueled by a weaker dollar and the International Energy Agency's upward revision of its 2024 demand growth forecast. This marks the first positive turn for crude prices following seven weeks of losses.

Although another weekly decline occurred in US stocks, it was limited to petrochemicals, specifically propane and propylene inventories, while crude oil and gasoline remained stable and closely monitored.

On Friday, it was reported that the number of oil rigs operating in the US had decreased by two in the previous week. The oil rig count dropped to 501 from 503, while the gas rig count remained unchanged at 119, according to Baker Hughes. Additionally, miscellaneous rigs decreased by one to three. A year earlier, the US had 620 oil rigs, 154 gas rigs, and two miscellaneous rigs in operation. Overall, there were 623 rigs operating in the US this week, down from 776 a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency stated on Thursday that global demand for oil continues to slow, following OPEC's decision to leave its oil consumption forecasts unchanged.

On Wednesday, US government data revealed that commercial crude stockpiles in the US had declined more than expected the previous week, primarily due to the decrease in propane and propylene inventories. Total stocks stood at 440.773 million barrels, down from the previous week's 445.031 million but still well above the 424.129 million barrels reported at the same time in late 2022.


Name Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.