Oil slipped below $52 a barrel on Friday, giving up an earlier gain, as abundant crude supplies outweighed tighter U.S. fuel inventories and OPEC’s plans to cut output.
Brent crude reached a 2016 high near $54 on Monday, underpinned by OPEC’s Sept. 28 deal to reduce oil production, before weakening on rising U.S. crude stocks and as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ own numbers showed output is still rising. [OPEC/M]
Global benchmark Brent LCOc1 was down 4 cents at $51.99 at 1328 GMT (0928 EDT), having traded as high as $52.55 earlier. U.S. crude CLc1 gained 20 cents to $50.64.
“The fundamental backdrop is still bearish,” said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch. “Every increase is driven by speculation and optimism”, rather than an actual tightening of supplies, he said.
U.S. crude inventories overall USOILC=ECI rose by 4.9 million barrels, the first increase in six weeks, the government’s Energy Information Administration reported on Thursday.