Crude oil prices eased slightly on Friday after moving in a very tight range, as traders weighed recent oil supply and demand reports and largely stayed wary of building up positions amid escalating trade war tensions.
A report released by Baker Hughes, the oilfield services firm, said U.S. oil drilling rigs count increased by two to 862 this week.
It is widely expected that demand for crude will drop due to U.S.-China trade dispute. However, the U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil may significantly reduce global crude supplies and limit crude’s downside.
According to reports, crude oil and condensate exports from Iran may have dropped below 2.25 million barrels a day in August, making it a third straight month of declines.
Crude oil futures for October delivery ended down $0.45, or 0.6%, at $69.80 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the week, crude oil futures gained about 1.6% and in the month of August, crude futures gained about 3.2%.
U.S. crude inventories fell by 2.566 million barrels to 405.8 million barrels in the week ended August 24, according to the data released by the Energy Information Administration earlier in the week.
The report from EIA also showed imports fell by about 0.657 million barrels per day, while exports rose by 0.624 million barrels per day. The EIA estimates for US production were unchanged for the week ending August 24,
averaging 11 million bpd again.