Investing.com - U.S. oil prices ended above $60 a barrel in the final trading day of the year on Friday, for the first time in over two years amid signs that a glut in global inventories is easing.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for February delivery tacked on 28 cents, or around 0.47%, to end at $60.12 a barrel. It was the highest close since June 2015.
Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., rose 47 cents or 0.71% to settle at $66.63 a barrel by close of trade. Earlier in the week, Brent broke through $67 for the first time since May 2015.
Oil prices have been buoyed by indications that global inventories are declining, as shrinking supplies reassured investors.
On Thursday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that crude stockpiles fell to the lowest level since October 2015 in the week ended Dec. 22. It was the sixth consecutive weekly decline in U.S. stockpiles, according to the EIA data.
EIA data also showed that U.S. oil production saw its first weekly drop since October, declining by 35,000 barrels per day from a record high the previous week. The decline helped ease some concerns about a surge in shale production undermining efforts to rid the market of excess supplies.
In November, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, along with some non OPEC producers including Russia, agreed to extend current oil output cuts until the end of 2018.
Strong compliance with the output cut deal together with robust global demand has helped spur an oil market rally since the middle of the year.
The International Energy Agency has said that oil demand rose by 1.5 million barrels a day in 2017, and will increase further in 2018 by 1.3 million barrels a day.
Meanwhile, natural gas futures rose 1.44% to $2.956 per million British thermal units in late trade.
In the week ahead, market participants will eye fresh weekly information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products on Tuesday and Wednesday to gauge the strength of demand in the world’s largest oil consumer.
Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.
The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, is to publish its weekly report on U.S. oil supplies.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration is to release weekly data on oil and gasoline stockpiles as well as a report on natural gas supplies in storage.
Baker Hughes will release weekly data on the U.S. oil rig count.
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