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  • Crude oil prices are falling for second straight day on Friday.
  • WTI remains on track to post weekly gains.
  • Number of active oil rigs in US fell to a record low of 176.

Crude oil prices continued to fall on Friday and the barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) touched a daily low of $41.05 before recovering modestly. As of writing, the WTI was trading at $41.25, losing 1.7% on a daily basis. Despite the sharp drop witnessed in the second half of the week, the WTI remains on track to close the week around 2% higher.

Demand concerns weigh on oil

The data published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that Nonfarm Payrolls (NFP) increased by 1,763,000 in July. Although this reading came in slightly better than the market expectation of 1.6 million, it showed a sharp slowdown in the pace of hiring after June’s increase of 4,791,000 and revived concerns over a steady recovery in energy demand.

Additionally, the lack of progress in coronavirus relief bill negotiations in the US caused investors to adopt a cautious stance and put additional weight on risk-sensitive oil’s shoulders.

Meanwhile, the weekly data published by Baker Hughes Energy Services showed that the number of active oil rigs in the US dropped to a record low of 176 this week from 180 and helped the WTI limit its losses.

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