WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Crude oil futures failed to hold early gains and ended flat on Friday, as worries about excess supply globally and weak demand outlook due to trade disputes weighed on the commodity.
Oil prices edged higher earlier in the session amid speculation that the OPEC members will agree to a supply cut at their forthcoming meeting on December 6.
According to reports OPEC's de facto leader, Saudi Arabia wants the cartel to cut output by about 1.4 million barrels per day, around 1.5% of global supply. Russia, which has been raising production since June to offset Iranian losses, is reportedly not interested in joining the output cuts.
Although data from the Energy Information Administration showed another increase in crude inventory last week (the eighth in succession), a drop in gasoline and and distillate fuel inventories pushed up crude oil futures on Thursday and in early trades today.
Crude oil futures for December ended at $56.46 a barrel, unchanged from previous close. For the week, oil futures shed as much as 6.2%, recording a sixth successive weekly loss. Earlier in the session today, oil futures rose to a high of $57.95 a barrel.
Thursday's report from EIA showed crude oil inventories to have risen by 10.27 million barrels last week, more than thrice the expected increase. That was the biggest weekly increase since February 2017.
The data also showed that U.S. crude production was up by 1,00,000 barrels per day to 11.7 million barrels per day, a record high.
According to the report, gasoline inventories were down by 1.41 million barrels last week. Distillate stockpiles declined by 3.59 million barrels.
After trading hours at the Nymex today, a report from Baker Hughes said U.S. weekly active oil-rig count increased by 2 to 888 this week.
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