Oil Prices Fall Amid Rising U.S. Rig Count; Venezuela Remains in Focus

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Investing.com – fell on Monday in as U.S. energy firms raised the number of rigs last week. Meanwhile, Venezuela remained in the headlines as turmoil in Caracas triggered concerns that its crude exports could soon be disrupted.

was down 0.7% at $53.34 by 11:09 PM ET (04:09 GMT). The U.S. benchmark shed 0.2% last week as a hefty weekly rise in domestic crude supplies weighed.

The global benchmark, for April delivery on the ICE (NYSE:) Europe exchange, fell 0.5% at $61.30. Brent lost about 1.7% last week, the first weekly decline in four weeks.

The fall in prices came after energy services firm said in its weekly report on Friday that U.S. energy firms last week raised the number of rigs looking for new to 862, an additional 10 rigs.

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Meanwhile, oil traders also await more trade-related headlines this week, as Chinese officials begin another round of trade talks with their U.S. counterparts this week aimed at resolving the long-running trade war between the two countries.

Elsewhere, in Venezuela, opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president last week amid violent street protests, winning backing from Washington and large parts of , including and Colombia.

That prompted Nicolas Maduro, the country’s leader since 2013, to cut ties with the U.S., which signalled it could impose sanctions on Venezuela’s oil exports.

Despite last week’s loss, oil has gained roughly 17% since the start of January. Overall, the recent advance for the energy complex has been powered by evidence of a decline in global output.

Last year, -led and its non-member allies led by Russia agreed to collectively cut production by a total of 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) during the first six months of 2019 in an effort to stave off a global glut in supplies.

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Source: Investing.com