Oil prices slipped lower in early Asian trade on Monday after closing the previous session at their lowest level since March on renewed oversupply concerns after data showed U.S. drilling activity increased last week. U.S. oil producers added 21 oil rigs last week, the biggest rise since April 2014, oil services company Baker Hughes Inc BHI.N said in on Friday.
That was despite a 21 percent collapse in U.S. crude prices since mid-June when prices hit $61 a barrel on June 23 leading U.S. oil prices to enter a bear market. A 20 percent downturn is considered by many traders to constitute a bear market. U.S. crude for September delivery CLc1 was down 14 cents at $48 as of 0024 GMT, after closing the previous session down 31 cents at $48.14, its lowest settlement since March 31 and down 5.5 percent on the week.
Brent crude futures for September delivery LCOc1 fell 4 cent to $54.58 after ending the previous session 65 cents down, the lowest close since March 19 and a drop of 4.3 percent for the week. Hedge funds and other money managers slashed long bets on U.S. crude futures and options to the lowest level in five years last week, as crude continued to tumble, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.