MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Brent crude ICE futures fluctuated around $34 per barrel throughout Friday morning before falling nearly four percent to $32.96 per barrel by 20:00 GMT. WTI crude mirrored the trend, falling from around $30.70 per barrel to $29.11 per barrel by 16:00 GMT before slightly recovering to $29.60 per barrel by 20:00 GMT.
Brent May 2016 futures were over three percent in the red, standing at $33.72 per barrel by 20:30 GMT. WTI March 2016 futures fell to less than $30 per barrel, reaching $29.78 per barrel by 20:30 GMT.
Amid an ongoing glut in global oil supply, investors have over recent days received mixed signals from the United States, which is the world's main oil consumer, as well as from the world's leading oil exporters.
Thursday's news of increasing commercial oil inventories in the United States send oil prices tumbling. On Friday, investors were unmoved by the weekly Baker Hughes rig count dropping of 27 to 413 rigs between February 12-19 in the United States. Internationally, 50 rigs closed this week, according to the company.
On Wednesday, a number of oil producing countries supported Tuesday's deal by Russia and three members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) — Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Venezuela — to freeze output at January levels throughout 2016. Despite a brief rally immediately following the decision, oil prices have so far remained largely unaffected.