Oil Action: Front-month WTI futures are near flat
Oil Action: Front-month WTI futures are near flat at $54.20, earlier printing a seven-week high at $54.39. This is now the fourth consecutive week that crude prices have posted a higher high from the previous week. The WTI benchmark price is now up 19.3% on the year-to-date, though remains down by 14.7% from year-ago levels. Hopes for the U.S. and China to find accord on trade at the top-level meetings on January 30-31 have been keeping oil, along with other resource commodity prices underpinned. Friday's weekly Baker Hughes data on the U.S. oil rig count also declined for a third straight week, falling by 21 to 852 in the week to January 11. A Reuters articled cited citing research by Bernstein Energy showing that crude markets will move back into a "supply deficit" for most of this year as a result of OPEC supply curtailment, forecasting crude prices above $70 before the end of the year.