Crude Oil Futures - Weekly Outlook: February 20 - 24 - - Oil futures added a few pennies on Friday, but posted their first weekly decline in five weeks as concerns over rising production and swelling stockpiles in the U.S. offset efforts by major producers to cut enough output to reduce a global glut.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for delivery in March inched up 4 cents, or less than 0.1%, to end at $53.86 a barrel by close of trade Friday.

For the week, New York-traded oil futures slumped 46 cents, or nearly 0.9%. snapping a four-week win streak.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for April delivery tacked on 16 cents, or about 0.3%, to settle at $56.70 a barrel by close of trade.

London-traded Brent futures scored a loss of 89 cents, or around 1.6%, on the week, the second straight weekly decline.

Concerns that the ongoing rebound in U.S. shale production could derail efforts by other major producers to rebalance global oil supply and demand pressured crude prices.

Data from oilfield services provider Baker Hughes on Friday revealed that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose by six last week, the fifth weekly increase in a row. That brought the total count to 597, the most since November 2015.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday that crude supplies rose by 9.5 million barrels last week to an all-time high of 518.0 million barrels.

Gasoline stocks rose 2.8 million barrels, pushing inventories of the fuel to a record at 259.0 million barrels.

Futures have been trading in a narrow range around the lower-to-mid-$50s over the past two months as sentiment in oil markets has been torn between expectations of a rebound in U.S. shale production and hopes that oversupply may be curbed by output cuts announced by major global producers.

OPEC and non-OPEC countries have made a strong start to lowering their oil output under the first such pact in more than a decade.

Latest data showed the group's production in January declined by 890,000 barrels a day from the previous month to 32.14 million barrels a day. The drop indicates a 90% compliance level so far by producers who had agreed to curtail their output.

January 1 marked the official start of the deal agreed by OPEC and non-OPEC member countries such as Russia in November last year to reduce output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day to 32.5 million for the next six months.

OPEC could extend its oil supply-reduction pact with non-members or even apply deeper cuts from July if global crude inventories fail to drop to a targeted level, OPEC sources said on Thursday.

Elsewhere on Nymex, gasoline futures for March shed 0.8 cents, or about 0.5% to $1.516 on Friday, the lowest since February 8. It ended down about 4.6% for the week.

March heating oil added 0.7 cents, or 0.5%, to finish at $1.636 a gallon. For the week, the fuel lost almost 1.8%.

Natural gas futures for March delivery sank 2.0 cents, or almost 0.7%, to a three-month low of $2.834 per million British thermal units. It posted a weekly loss of around 7%.

In the week ahead, market participants will eye fresh weekly information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products on Wednesday and Thursday to gauge the strength of demand in the world's largest oil consumer.

The reports come out one day later than usual due to Monday's President's Day holiday.

Meanwhile, traders will also continue to pay close attention to comments from global oil producers for further evidence that they are complying with their agreement to reduce output this year.

Ahead of the coming week, has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.

Monday, February 20

Markets in the U.S. will remain closed for President's Day.

Wednesday, February 22

The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, is to publish its weekly report on U.S. oil supplies.

Thursday, February 23

The U.S. Energy Information Administration is to release weekly data on oil and gasoline stockpiles.

The U.S. government is also to produce a weekly report on natural gas supplies in storage.

Friday, February 24

Baker Hughes will release weekly data on the U.S. oil rig count. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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