Oil Prices Lower Despite Rise in U.S. Rig Count

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures for delivery in May were 0.3% lower at $53.04 per barrel during Monday’s pre-market trading session while Brent oil futures for delivery in June were down by 0.2% at $55.80 per barrel. The pre-bell price declines come despite a weaker greenback. As a dollar-denominated commodity, a cheaper buck tends to make oil more affordable for international buyers. The Dollar Index, which tracks the value of the US currency against a basket of foreign currencies, was 0.32% lower at the time of writing.

Also feeding into oil trading sentiment on Monday was an uptick in the US rig count last week. The number of rigs in operation across the US rose by 8 to 847 in the week ended April 13, according to oilfield services company Baker Hughes’ weekly report, published on Friday. This was 407 more than the number recorded in corresponding week of the prior year.

Traders are also likely to be factoring in the upcoming data on US inventories of oil which is due out later in the week. Government data last week showed a bigger-than-expected decline in US inventories of crude oil, marking only the second week in 14 in which stockpiles have contracted.

By Kristen Tardella