News: West Texas Intermediate spurts 8.3% higher

  1. U.S. oil benchmark settled sharply higher on Friday, after data showed U.S. drillers were slamming the brakes on the shale drilling boom.

    WTI crude for March delivery settled up by 8.3% at US$48.24 a barrel.

    The U.S. oil benchmark gained 5.8% for the week, leaving it down 9.4% for the month after earlier showing a double-digit percentage decline for January.

    Analysts said factors behind oil's advance today included news of a big drop in U.S. rig counts as producers respond to oversupply, as well as short covering on the last day of the month.

    Baker Hughes data showed the number of rigs drilling for oil in the United States fell by 94 - or 7% - for the week.

    The rig count drop was the most since 1987. With drillers having idled about 24 percent of their oil drilling rigs since the summer, some traders may be betting that an anticipated slowdown in U.S. oil production is nearer than expected.


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