Investing.com - Oil prices fell sharply on Friday, as market players continued to focus on a global supply glut and amid doubts over the likelihood of a collective cut happening anytime soon.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for delivery in March lost $1.13, or 3.67%, to end the week at $29.64 a barrel. Meanwhile, the more actively-traded April contract declined $1.18, or 3.58%, to settle at $31.75 by close of trade.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said Thursday that U.S. crude stockpiles increased by 2.1 million barrels last week to an all-time high of 504.1 million barrels, underlining concerns over a domestic supply glut.
Supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma, the key delivery point for Nymex crude, rose by 36,000 barrels last week, raising fears that the nation's largest storage facility is nearing full capacity.
Despite Friday’s losses, New York-traded oil futures posted a weekly gain of 20 cents, or 0.67%, the first weekly rise in three, thanks to a strong rally earlier in the week as producing nations met to discuss an agreement to support prices.
U.S. oil prices are down nearly 15% so far this year.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for April delivery slumped $1.27, or 3.7%, on Friday to close the week at $33.01 a barrel.
On the week, London-traded Brent futures declined 35 cents, or 1.04%, the third consecutive weekly drop. Futures were up as much as 14% earlier in the week on Saudi Arabia and Russia's agreement to freeze output at January levels.
Brent prices pushed lower on Friday as investors expressed skepticism that the deal could be completed. While Iran oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said that he supported any measure that would help stabilize global oil markets, he stopped short of committing to a freeze in Iranian production, raising the question of whether the agreed parties will stay committed to the plan.
Brent prices are down almost 12% in 2016 as investors worried that a huge oversupply in crude was coinciding with a global economic slowdown.
Oil futures are down nearly 70% since the summer of 2014. Global crude production is outpacing demand following a boom in U.S. shale oil and after a decision by OPEC last year not to cut production in order to defend market share.
Meanwhile, Brent's premium to the West Texas Intermediate crude contract stood at $1.26, compared to a gap of $1.35 by close of trade on Thursday.
In the week ahead, oil traders will be focusing on U.S. stockpile data on Tuesday and Wednesday, amid mounting concerns over a domestic supply glut.
Developments surrounding a potential deal between OPEC and non-OPEC producers to cap output will also be in focus.
Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.
Monday, February 22
The euro zone is to release survey data on manufacturing and service sector activity. Germany and France are also to release individual reports.
Tuesday, February 23
In the euro zone, the Ifo Institute is to report on German business climate.
The U.S. is to release data on consumer confidence and existing home sales. Later in the day, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, is to publish its weekly report on U.S. oil supplies.
Wednesday, February 24
The U.S. is to release a report on new home sales, while the U.S. Energy Information Administration is to release its weekly report on oil supplies.
Thursday, February 25
The U.K. is to release revised data on fourth quarter gross domestic product as well as preliminary data on business investment.
The euro zone is to publish revised inflation data.
The U.S. is to release reports on durable goods orders and initial jobless claims.
Friday, February 26
The U.S. is to round up the week with revised data on U.S. fourth quarter GDP, as well as data on personal spending and consumer sentiment.
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