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  • WTI falls for the second straight day on Friday.
  • US drillers cut oil and gas rigs to record low for 15th week.
  • China has reportedly ramped up its US oil purchases.

Crude oil prices remained on the back foot on Friday and the barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was last seen losing 1.2% on the day at $41.80. Despite the two-day slump, the WTI remains on track to close the second straight week in the positive territory.

US data fails to help WTI rebound

During the Asian session on Friday, uninspiring the data from China, the world’s second-biggest oil consumer, revived concerns over a weak demand outlook weighed on crude oil prices. Retail Sales in China contracted by 1.1% on a yearly basis in July and Industrial Production expanded by 4.8% annually to miss the market expectation of 5.1%.

Later in the day, the weekly report published by Baker Hughes Energy Services showed that the US driller cut oil and gas rigs to a recovered low for the fifteenth week. The total number of active oil rigs in the US currently stands at 172.

Meanwhile, citing sources familiar with the matter, Reuters reported on Friday that China has ramped up its US oil purchases ahead of the US-China assessment of the phase one trade deal. “Chinese state oil firms tentatively book tankers to ship at least 20 million barrels of US crude in August and September,” Reuters wrote. Nevertheless, this headline had little to no impact on crude oil prices ahead of the weekend.

Technical levels to watch for