Crude prices slumped on Friday, offsetting early gains as indications of lower demand in China and rising U.S. production dragged down markets despite help from supply problems in Venezuela and OPEC’s output cuts.
Brent crude futures slipped 0.7 percent to $76.79 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures lost 0.6 percent, at $65.57 per barrel.
China’s May crude oil imports slid from a record peak breached in the previous month. May shipments were 39.05 million tonnes, or 9.2 million barrels per day (bpd) compared with 9.6 million bpd in April.
Surging U.S. production, which reached another record last week at 10.8 million bpd., also dragged down prices. Despite Friday’s declines, Brent is rising 15 percent from its level at the start of the year.