Oil markets opened sluggish on Friday, muted by increasing output from U.S. and OPEC as U.S. crude remains below $50 per barrel.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures traded at $49.03 per barrel, flat from its last close but close to 80 cents below its opening value this week.
Brent crude futures traded at $51.99 per barrel, sliding 2 cents from its last close and close to 60 cents below the start of the week.
According to traders, the prices were being held by the rising output that prevents increases and strong demand prevents drops.
Crude oil exports by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC ) has risen to record highs in July, mostly buoyed by rising exports from its African members.
July’s 26.11 million barrels per day (bpd) in exports marked a rise of 370,000 bpd, which mostly came from Nigeria which posted a rise of 260,000 bpd in shipments.
In the U.S., oil production struck 9.43 million barrels per day (bpd), its highest since August 2015 and 12 percent higher from its most recent low in June last year.
Strong demand still prevents prices from falling.
Demand in U.S. gasoline climbed to 9.842 million bpd last week, its highest since the U.S. Energy Information Administration began collecting the data in 1991, as the federal agency reported this week.