Crude oil futures settled lower on Thursday as traders seemed confident about the success of OPEC’s output while keeping track of the number of domestic production rigs, according to Bloomberg MarketWatch.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, March West Texas Intermediate crude fell 34 cents, or 0.6%, to settle at $53.54 a barrel.
On the London ICE Futures Exchange, April Brent crude, the global benchmark, shed 24 cents, or 0.4%, to end trading at $56.56 a barrel.
“Oil is becoming more and more stable because of expectations of a much tighter oil market this year,” said Fawad Razaqzada, technical analyst at Forex.com. “The deal to limit oil output by OPEC and some countries outside of this group has been implemented and production has started to fall.”
Data released on Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration revealed that domestic crude production modestly declined for the week ending January 27, but it also revealed a much larger-than-expected climb in crude inventories.
In recent weeks, the data has shown an uptick in U.S. drilling rigs in the wake of OPEC’s stated cuts.
“Only when U.S. production starts to rise noticeably and sustainably may this become the main focal point for the market,” said Razaqzada.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, March natural gas rose 1.9 cents, or 0.6%, to settle at $3.187 per million British thermal units.