New York-traded crude oil futures ended little changed on Friday to cap a sixth consecutive weekly decline amid worries the recent U.S. government shutdown created a drag on economic growth and eroded demand in the world’s largest oil consumer.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude futures for delivery in December inched up 0.09% on Friday to settle the week at USD93.84 a barrel by close of trade.
The December contract fell to USD92.51 a barrel on Thursday, the lowest since June 4, before ending at USD93.76 a barrel, down 0.13%.
Oil futures were likely to find support at USD92.51 a barrel, the low from November 14 and resistance at USD95.22 a barrel, the high from November 12.
On the week, U.S. oil futures retreated 0.8%, the sixth consecutive weekly decline and the longest losing streak since December 1998.
Concerns over the U.S. economic outlook and the impact on future oil demand prospects mounted after a report released Friday showed that the Federal Reserve’s Empire state manufacturing index fell to -2.21 from 1.52 in October. Economists had forecast a rise to 5.0.
Oil traders often use manufacturing numbers as indicators for future fuel demand growth.
A separate report said that U.S. industrial production fell 0.1% in October, after rising by 0.7% in September, compared to expectations for a 0.2% increase.
Traders also remained concerned about rising U.S. inventories.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Thursday that crude oil inventories last week rose by 2.6 million barrels, far more than the 994,000 barrels predicted by analysts.
Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 388.1 million barrels as of last week, the highest since June.
Oil’s losses were limited amid renewed hopes of continued stimulus from the Federal Reserve.
Testimony from Federal Reserve Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen suggested the central bank will continue supporting the U.S. economy with stimulus.
Ms. Yellen said it was "imperative" that the Fed does everything in its power to ensure a robust recovery. She said the quantitative easing program would not continue indefinitely but the timescale for reducing it would be data dependent.
The comments came during a Senate confirmation hearing to take over from Ben Bernanke as head of the central bank in February.
The Fed’s stimulus program is viewed by many investors as a key driver in boosting the price of commodities as it tends to depress the value of the dollar.
In the week ahead, investors will be closely watching Wednesday’s minutes of the Fed’s most recent policy setting meeting. The U.S. is also to release data on retail sales and consumer prices.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for January delivery rose 0.2% on Friday to settle the week at USD108.50 a barrel.
London-traded Brent prices rallied to USD108.95 a barrel on Thursday, the highest since November 1, amid growing concerns over a disruption to supplies from Libya.
The January Brent contract added 3.11% on the week, while the spread between the Brent and the crude contracts stood at USD14.66 a barrel by close of trade on Friday, the widest since March.
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