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Crude Oil Settlements Post Gains on Friday, Losses for the Month

Oil prices ended higher on Friday despite lower monthly settlements, according to Bloomberg MarketWatch.

June West Texas Intermediate crude added 36 cents, or 0.7%, to close at $49.33 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Based on the front-month May contract finish at the end of March, prices have lost about 2.5% in April. The June contract has fallen by 3.4% from its settlement a month ago.

On the London ICE Futures Exchange, June Brent crude, the global benchmark, tacked on 29 cents, or 0.6%, to end trading at $51.73 a barrel on the contract’s expiration day. The contract ended about 3.4% lower for the month.

Two significant factors have played into the recent oil settlements. First, oil prices have stalled due to an increase in U.S. output. Second, OPEC is uncertain whether it will extend its current production curb. The cartel is expected to decide by May 25.

“U.S. oil inventories remain strong, and U.S. production and oil rig counts continue to climb, adding to oil market headwinds,” said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. Prices are “likely to remain under pressure due to rising U.S. production in investment spending into the last half of 2017.”

Back on the New York Mercantile Exchange, June natural gas ended at $3.276 per million British thermal units, up 3.7 cents, or 1.5%. Based on the front-month contracts, prices traded roughly 2.7% higher for the month, while the June contract traded about 0.1% higher than its March 31 finish.