Crude oil prices were still under pressure on Friday, amid ongoing concerns over U.S. production levels and fresh worries over U.S. protectionist policies.
Elsewhere, Brent oil for May delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London eased about 0.09% to $63.78 a barrel, after hitting a two-week trough of $63.20 in the previous session.
Oil prices remained under pressure after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported on Wednesday that crude oil inventories rose by 3.019 million barrels for the week ended Feb. 23, exceeding expectations for a rise of 2.4 million barrels.
The report also showed that gasoline inventories rose by 2.483 million barrels, confounding expectations for a decline of 190,000 barrels.
The massive build in gasoline stockpiles garnered most of the attention as some market participants had expected that a slowdown in refinery activity – as refiners enter period of maintenance – would lead to fall in gasoline supplies.
Fears that rising U.S. output could dampen global efforts to rid the market of excess supplies have systematically limited oil prices’ gains recently.
The deal to cut oil output by 1.8 million barrels a day (bpd) was adopted last winter by OPEC, Russia and nine other global producers. The agreement was due to end in March 2018, having already been extended once.
Market participants were also digesting news on Thursday that U.S. President Donald Trump plans to impose tariffs of 25% on imported steel and 10% on aluminum, in a move to “protect U.S. industry”.
The move sparked concerns over potential trade wars, which would have a negative impact on the U.S. economy, weighing heavily on risk sentiment.
Elsewhere, gasoline futures were down 0.66% at $1.882 a gallon, while natural gas futures held steady at $2.697 per million British thermal units.
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