US rig count data eyed for cues to crude prices as Trump criticizes OPEC

U.S. five dollar currency notes bills; taken September 2018.U.S. five dollar currency notes bills; taken September 2018.

Crude oil appeared set to be weaker in Asian trading on Friday after comments by U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday U.S. time urging OPEC to help bring down prices and as industry figures on the U.S. oil rig count were expected to set the near-term tone.

ICE Brent was quoted down 0.87 percent at US$78.71, while NYMEX West Texas Intermediate was last quoted at US$70.32 a barrel. Brent crude oil futures settled down 0.88 percent on Thursday at US$78.70 a barrel, while NYMEX WTI eased 0.45 percent to US$70.80 a barrel.

Oil services firm Baker Hughes was set to report weekly U.S. oil rig count figures at 1300 U.S. EDT on Friday. The figure last stood at 867, a slight gain over the previous week. The oil rig count is watched by the market for strength in demand by the U.S., with a view on China as the world’s top importer.

Trump also launched a broadside at OPEC as benchmark Brent prices neared US$80 a barrel this week.

“We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices! We will remember,” Trump said in a tweet on Thursday. “The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!”




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