WASHINGTON : Oil prices ended down on Friday and broke a four-week winning streak after a rally that had taken benchmarks to three-year highs, as investors sold positions on re-emerging US production concerns. Brent crude futures fell 70 cents, or 1 per cent, to settle at $68.61 a barrel after hitting a session low of $68.28. On Monday, they hit their highest since December 2014 at $70.37.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures settled at $63.37 a barrel, down 58 cents, or 0.9 per cent. WTI marked a December-2014 peak of $64.89 a barrel on Tuesday. On a weekly basis, Brent settled 1.8 per cent lower while WTI was down 1.5 per cent.
“We had such a meteoric rise in the oil market recently and we were overbought quite a bit. This is the first time we’ve taken a breath,” said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.
“The pullback in relationship to the recent run-up is still very modest,” he added. The International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its monthly report that global oil stocks have tightened substantially, aided by Opec cuts, demand growth and Venezuelan production hitting near 30-year lows. But it warned that rapidly increasing production in the United States could threaten market balancing.
“Explosive growth in the US and substantial gains in Canada and Brazil will far outweigh potentially steep declines in Venezuela and Mexico,” the IEA said of 2018 production.