Reuters: Oil in bear market as supply rises, demand outlook weakens
Oil markets stabilized on Friday but remained weak as rising supply and concerns of an economic slowdown pressured prices, with U.S. crude down by around 20 percent since early October.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at $65.73 per barrel at 0629 GMT, 6 cents above their last settlement. WTI is set for a fifth weekly fall, down 4 percent so far this week, Reuters said.
Front-month Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were at $70.84 a barrel, 19 cents above their last close. Still, Brent is poised for an almost 3 percent drop for the week, its fifth straight week of decline.
Both Brent and WTI have fallen by around 20 percent from the four-year highs they reached in early October.
"Oil prices ... are now officially in a bear market, having declined 20 percent from their (October) peak," said William O'Loughlin, investment analyst at Australia's Rivkin Securities.
Analysts said the main downward price pressure came from rising supply, despite the U.S. sanctions against Iran that were imposed this week, as well as concerns over an economic slowdown.