Crude Futures Maintain Losses After Rig-count Report Shows 2nd Weekly Gain

By Mark DeCambreMarketsMarketWatch Pulse

Oil futures held on to sharp losses Friday after a Baker Hughes report showed that rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. rose by 3 to 328, marking the second straight weekly rise in active drilling rigs. Last week, the rig count rose by 9 rigs. West Texas Intermediate crude futures trading for July delivery maintained steep losses, and were most recently down 2.7% at $49.22 a barrel. Brent oil , its international counterpart, was off 2.4% at $50.71 a barrel. Active gas rigs rose by 3 to 85, according to Baker Hughes. Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group, said he was heartened by the report after last week's jump in rigs. Market participants use the report to gauge whether U.S. producers are revving up oil-production activity, which could drive down the price oil. "It shows the market is stabilizing, but it wasn't as [large of an increase] as some feared," he said.

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