Oil drops in Asia as US oil rig count rises to 18-month high

Oil prices are trading weak in Asia as traders react to Friday’s Baker Hughes data which showed US oil rig count at the highest level since September 2015. 

As of writing, the WTI oil was down 36 cents or 0.75% at $48.95/barrel. Brent oil was down 24 cents or 0.46% at $51.45/barrel. Baker Hughes data showed drillers added 14 oil rigs in the week to March 17, pushing the total count up to 631.

However, the losses have been moderate as speculation that OPEC will extend output cut deal beyond June is gathering pace. 

As per Reuters report, analysts say “the OPEC-led cuts will only start to bite from April, just as demand picks up as refineries return from current maintenance outages.”