MTECHTIPS:-Oil settles lower in U.S. with rig count ahead, OPEC

MTECHTIPS:-Oil settles lower in U.S. with rig count ahead, OPEC curbs seen adequate

MTECHTIPS- Crude prices settled lower in U.S. trade on Thursday as investors waited for end of the week rig count data and took profits on what are seen as so far adequate compliance with coordinated cuts to global oil production of almost 1.8 million barrels per day for the first six months of the year by OPEC and non-OPEC nations. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for delivery in March fell 0.63% to $53.54 a barrel, while on the Intercontinental Exchange in London, Brent oil for March delivery eased 0.42% to $56.56 a barrel. Markets in China reopen on Friday after a week-long break. Ahead on Friday, oilfield services firm Baker Hughes will report data on U.S. drilling activity at the end of last week that will be closely watched. Last week, Baker Hughes said the number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. increased by 15 last week, the 12th gain in 13 weeks. That brought the total count to 566, the most since November 2015. On Thursday, Russia’s energy ministry said January output fell by 100,000 bpd, less than hoped for but in the right direction, and Iraq has also moved to trim output at least in spirit. At the same time, rising tension between Iran and the U.S. over a ballistic missile test by Tehran this week has led to some sharp words from the White House. Investors are watching for any signs of wider sanctions on Iran from the U.S. that would impact a deal to curb a deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions

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