Investing.com – Oil bears are back to taunting Saudi Arabia by pressuring the market again, just two days after giving a reprieve to the record sellfoff in crude.
West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude futures settled steady to slightly higher on Friday after rallying more than 2% earlier in the day on fears that the oil-rich kingdom and the OPEC cartel it leads could cut supplies substantially at a December 6-7 meeting. Friday’s rebound didn’t help crude’s weekly loss of 6%, making it the sixth-straight week in the red.
Prices initially rallied during the day on an analysis from tanker-tracking firm ClipperData that showed Saudi Arabia was already loading fewer barrels on ships bound for the United States this month, continuing a trend that began in September.
By sending fewer barrels to the United States, the Saudis hope to starve U.S. crude stockpiles, which have swelled by nearly 50 million barrels the past eight weeks. It’s a strategy the kingdom used last year while working alongside OPEC members, Russia and other producers to rescue oil prices from lows under $50 a barrel.
But after the morning highs in New York trade, prices turned volatile before returning to positive territory just before the close.