Oil prices fall as relief over falling USA rig count fades

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan New York

The contract rose 3% Friday, to end at $65.49 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange-up 1.7% for the week.

"Permian and Bakken shale basins still saw active oil rigs rising by two and three last week, respectively and are likely to keep United States oil production on increasing trend", ING said. Meanwhile, the country's jobs report topped estimates, increasing confidence in the world's biggest economy and raising investors' appetite for risk assets.

But the analyst seems to think this might be a fait accompli, because the OPEC deal is giving "market share to the U.S." via a surge in exports to the coveted Asian market, the traditional bastion of Middle East producers - and that this will encourage some nations to retaliate by boosting supply.

While oil rebounded Friday from a three-week low as equities gained, crude has struggled to recoup losses from last month's broader market slump.

"A falling rig count and the strong employment data may have helped support prices", NAN quoted William O'Loughlin, investment analyst at Rivkin Securities, to have said.

USA crude was last at $61.37, down 1.08 percent.

Meanwhile, data out Friday did show that hedge funds and money managers cut their bullish bets on USA crude oil for the first time in three weeks.

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Brent crude futures were at $65.11 a barrel at 9.20am GMT, down 38c from their previous close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 157.13 points, or 0.62 percent, to 25,178.61, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 3.55 points, or 0.13 percent, to 2,783.02 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 27.52 points, or 0.36 percent, to 7,588.33. Explorers idled four oil rigs in the US, bringing the total to 796, Baker Hughesdata released Fridayshowed.

TheNewsGuru.com has been following the USA economy which added the biggest number of jobs in more than 1-1/2 years in February, with non-farm payrolls jumping by 313,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said on Friday.

Williams also pointed out that based on the figures, USA shale plays this year will "add enough to US production to match all the oil Venezuela now produces".

On Sunday, Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said OPEC could agree in June to begin easing current oil production curbs in 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Oil risks sliding back under $60 a barrel as a surge in US shipments to Asia threatens to undermine a deal between OPEC and its allies, according to ING Groep NV.

The pessimistic view was echoed in money managers' short-selling position. The dollar tends to have an inverse relationship with the price of oil, as a weaker greenback makes dollar-denominated commodities cheaper for holders of other currencies.

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