Crude Prices Edge Off 3-Month Low

Crude Prices Edge Off 3-Month LowCrude Prices Edge Off 3-Month Low

Oil prices recovered a little on Friday after dropping to their lowest in more than three months, pressured by heavy oversupply despite OPEC-led production cuts.

Brent crude oil was up 35 cents at $52.54 a barrel, after falling 1.7% on Thursday and 5% the day before in its biggest percentage decline in a year. US crude was up 40 cents at $49.68 a barrel. It fell below $50 on Thursday for the first time since December, Reuters reported.

US crude is on track for a drop of more than 7% this week, its biggest weekly fall for five months.

Market confidence failed after news of another big rise in US crude inventories that have built steadily as US oil production rose this year.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other exporters including Russia agreed late last year to cut output by around 1.8 million barrels per day in the first half of this year, but so far the move has had little impact on inventory levels.

"Steep price falls in the last two days amid building US inventories show that the market remains concerned about the supply-demand balance," National Australia Bank economist Phin Ziebell said.

Crude oil inventories in the United States, the world's top oil consumer, swelled by 8.2 million barrels last week to a record 528.4 million barrels.

US oil and gas drilling has also picked up, with producers planning to expand crude production in North Dakota, Oklahoma and other shale regions, while output has jumped in the Permian, America's largest oilfield.

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