Oil benchmarks were up in early trading hours on Monday, with investors awaiting for fresh inventory data in search for a clearer direction.
The US West Texas Intermediate crude contracts were up 0.38 percent to $61.48 per barrel as of 05:40 GMT. Meanwhile, Brent futures added 0.40 percent to $64.43 a barrel.
Crude benchmarks closed in green territory on Friday, although they posted weekly loses for the first time in nearly a month as fears of a rising US production weighed on sentiment.
- Weekly WTI: -3.6 percent
- Weekly Brent: -4.0 percent
Trade war rumors following President Donald Trump’s announcement over tariffs on steel and aluminium imports pushed benchmarks down, but later allowed them to correct upwards as the dollar became cheaper, boosting interest for commodities.
Oilfield services provider Baker Hughes said Friday the weekly oil rig count rose by one to 800, the highest level in the last three years, increasing speculation that US production will continue to build in the near time, possibly counteracting OPEC-led efforts.
Last week, the US Energy Information Administration said US domestic crude production increased to 10.3 million barrels per day for the week ended February 23, leaving the US really close to Russia and Saudi Arabia, the current world leaders by output.
The report also showed crude inventories adding 2.4 million barrels and gasoline supplies moving up by 2.483 million barrels, against expectations for a 190,000 barrels reduction. Distillate products went down by 960,000 barrels.
Apart from Wednesday’s official inventory data from the United States, traders will also keep an eye on the annual CERAWeek energy conference in Houston. OPEC representatives and US shale oil executives are expected to have a dinner together on Monday.