Crude oil prices drifted lower on Friday, declining for a fourth successive session, amid easing tensions in the Middle East, after the U.S. decided against military action on Iran, which had attacked some U.S. army bases in Iraq earlier in the week.

Crude oil had some moments in positive territory on Friday after the U.S. imposed fresh sanctions on Iran.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February ended down $0.52, or about 0.9%, at $59.04 a barrel.

Brent Crude oil futures were down by about $0.45 to $64.92 a barrel in late afternoon trades.

On Thursday, WTI Crude oil futures ended marginally down at $59.56 a barrel, after having shed nearly 5% a session earlier. WTI Crude oil futures shed about 6.4% in the week, the biggest weekly decline in more than five months.

Higher crude inventories in the U.S. and uninterrupted crude production in the Middle East despite the tensions between the U.S. and Iran weighed on oil prices.

A somewhat disappointing monthly non-farm payroll data from the U.S. Labor Department contributed a bit to oil’s decline.

A report from Baker Hughes today said the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil fell by 11 to 659 this week, declining for a third straight week. The total active U.S. rig count now stands at 781, the report showed.

In a significant development, the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a resolution that would force President Trump to seek consent from Congress before taking new military action against Iran.

The material has been provided by InstaForex Company – www.instaforex.com