Oil prices edge down due to increase in US rig count

28 January 2019 (Last Updated January 28th, 2019 12:23)

Oil prices have edged down 1% following the addition of more rigs by US companies, signalling a rise in crude production further.

Oil prices edge down due to increase in US rig count
Crude output in the US rose to 11.9 million barrels per day late last year Credit: Linda Flores.

Oil prices have edged down 1% following the addition of more rigs by US companies, signalling a rise in crude production further.

International Brent crude oil futures declined 1.46% and were at $60.74 a barrel, while US crude oil futures were at $52.84 per barrel, down 1.58%, Reuters reported.

The rigs were added by the US companies for the first time this year.

Prices also fell as the world’s second-largest oil user China reported additional signs of an industrial slowdown.

However, amid a trade war between the US and China, the slowdown is weighing on fuel demand-growth expectations.

Traders said that high crude output in the US, which rose to a record 11.9 million barrels per day (bpd) late last year, has been weighing on oil markets.

“China is introducing fiscal stimulus measures to stem the slowdown, but these measures may not have the desired effect as the country’s economy is already in debt.”

Baker Hughes said in its weekly report that energy firms in the US increased the number of rigs to 862, an addition of 10 rigs.

Last month, earnings at China’s industrial firms declined for the second month in a row due to slow factory activity, adding pressure on the economy.

Benjamin Lu of Phillip Futures told the news agency: “Persistent weakness seen in Chinese economic data has raised downside risks … of lower crude oil imports by Beijing in 2019.”

China is introducing fiscal stimulus measures to stem the slowdown, but these measures may not have the desired effect as the country’s economy is already in debt.

Tortoise Capital Advisors said in its latest oil market outlook that US crude oil prices are expected to range between $50-$60 per barrel this year and about $10 more per barrel for Brent.