Temperatures in the U.S. Northeast climbed into the 50s degrees
Fahrenheit range (above 10 degrees Celsius) after a multi month cold
snap reduced stockpiles of heating oil to the lowest level in a
New York ultra low sulfur diesel, or heating oil, futures fell by
more than 2 percent, or around 8 cents, to $3.0992 per gallon.
"The markets pushed higher this week on the expectation of increased
fuel demands," said Gene McGillian, analyst at Tradition Energy in
Stamford, Connecticut. "But the market was overextended and people
rushed to take profits."
Domestic conflicts in Libya and South Sudan, as well as escalating
protests in Venezuela supported Brent earlier in the week, but by
Friday traders had priced in the supply risk, analysts said.
Brent crude futures for April fell 45 cents to settle at $109.85 a
barrel, having hit a seven-week high of $110.82 on Wednesday.
Brent was also weighed on by signs that Iran increased January crude
oil exports to China and India.
U.S. crude futures for April delivery fell 55 cents to $102.20 after
paring losses of more than $1 hit earlier in the session. The U.S.
benchmark rose for the sixth straight week.
Losses were limited by rallies on global equity markets, which were
up most of the day on Friday despite new data that showed U.S. home
resales fell to an 18-month low.
Money managers raised their net long U.S. crude futures and options
positions to the highest on record in the week to Feb. 18, U.S.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday.
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Brent's premium to U.S. crude <CL-LCO1=R> settled at $7.65 a barrel.
It narrowed Thursday to as tight as $7.09, the lowest point since
Oct. 9, on a new pipeline that has drained supplies from WTI's
delivery point at Cushing, Oklahoma.
Crude oil supplies from several countries face constraints.
South Sudan's oil output has fallen by about a third to around
170,000 barrels per day (bpd) as the capital of the main
oil-producing region has been divided by the army and rebel
Maintenance at Angola's Plutonio oilfield in March will also cut
supply by about 180,000 bpd.
Libya's oil output is just less than a quarter of its pre-Arab
Spring levels, languishing below 400,000 bpd.
(Additional reporting by David
Sheppard and Christopher Johnson in London and Florence Tan in
Singapore; editing by David Evans, Dale Hudson, Chris Reese, Marguerita Choy and Peter Galloway)
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