Oil Prices Fractionally Lower

West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for delivery in March were 0.1% lower at $53.12 per barrel during Monday’s pre-market trading session while Brent oil futures for delivery in April were down by 0.3% at $55.56 per barrel.

The pre-bell price declines come as the greenback edges higher. As a dollar-denominated commodity, a higher US currency tends to make oil less affordable for international buyers. The Dollar Index, which tracks the value of the US currency against a basket of foreign currencies, was 0.63% higher at the time of writing.

Also feeding into oil trading sentiment on Monday was an uptick in the US rig count last week. The number of rigs in operation across the US rose by 18 to 712 in the week ended January 27, according to oilfield services company Baker Hughes’ weekly report. This was 93 more than the number recorded in corresponding week of the prior year.

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