Oil down, heads for 6th weekly loss on gasoline glut
By Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Crude oil dipped on Friday, plumbing multi-month lows and heading for a sixth straight week of losses, as the approaching end of the U.S. summer driving season suggested a growing surplus in gasoline supply.
Oilfield services firm Baker Hughes' report that the U.S. oil rig count rose by six this week added to the bearish sentiment for crude as it signaled production could creep up from higher drilling activity. Drillers have added a total of 32 oil rigs over the past three weeks. [RIG/U]
Traders and investors await Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data at 3:30 p.m. EDT to determine if money managers again had slashed their bullish exposure to U.S. crude in the week to Aug 4. Hedge funds' net longs in U.S. crude fell to near five-year lows in the two previous weeks.
Government data showing U.S. gasoline stocks exceeded market estimates by about 300,000 barrels last week has pushed global oil benchmark Brent to six-month lows and U.S. crude to a 4-1/2-month trough since Wednesday. [EIA/S]
Brent LCOc1 settled down 91 cents, or 1.8 percent, at $48.61 a barrel on Friday, after touching a more than six-month low of $48.45.
U.S. crude CLc1 closed down 79 cents, or 1.8 percent, at $43.87, after hitting a more than four-month session low of $43.80.
Brent was down 7 percent for the week. It fell 23 percent over the past six weeks.
U.S. crude also slid 7 percent on the week and lost 26 percent in the last six weeks. Continued...