Crude Oil Trade
Société Générale has raised its Brent crude forecast for the full year by $4.33 to $59.54 a barrelReuters

Crude oil futures witnessed mixed trade on 24 April, and logged mixed trade for the week, amid falling US drilling activity and as the ongoing Yemen conflict fuelled concerns about potential supply disruptions in the Middle East.

Brent June contract finished 43 cents, or 0.7%, higher at $65.28 a barrel on 24 April, trading at its highest levels since December 2014.

The global benchmark gained some 2.9% for the week as a whole.

US June contract finished 59 cents, or 1%, lower at $57.15 a barrel on 24 April.

WTI dipped 0.3% from the June contract's close on 18 April but gained some 2.5% from the settlement of the May contract, which ended last Friday.

Baker Hughes reported on Friday that the number of US rigs drilling for crude oil fell by 31, over last week, to 703 rigs.

In Yemen, airstrikes by Saudi Arabia have targeted weapons depots and other military installations.

Matthew Parry, senior oil analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris, told MarketWatch: "The Yemen situation triggered a J-shaped bounce—plummeting initially on reports that Saudi Arabia's involvement in Yemen was waning before posting resurgent growth as reality dawned of continued heavy Saudi involvement."

Katrina Lamb, head of investment strategy and research at MV Financial, told the website: "Hedge funds appear to be the primary force driving Brent futures to a year-to-date high, buying up a significantly higher-than-average volume of contracts on expectations that prices have hit their lows and will rally further from here."

Brent outlook

Société Générale, on Friday, raised its Brent crude forecast for the full year by $4.33 to $59.54 a barrel, and raised its WTI crude forecast for the year by $4.28 to $53.62 a barrel.

However, the French firm said prices in May and June will still be under pressure owing to US stockpiles rising by 1.9 million barrels a day in the second-quarter.

Capital Economics said in a 24 April note to clients: "In a relatively quiet week, oil prices consolidated their recent gains as the consensus swung round to our view that the lows recorded in Q1 would prove to be the turning point. However, powerful headwinds remain both on the supply and the demand side..."

US shale oil

Earlier, Standard Chartered, referring to falling US shale oil production, said in a note: "We expect the rate of decline to quicken thereafter. Unless prices rise sharply in coming months, we expect US shale oil to be 1mb/d lower (y/y) by May 2016."

Data from the US EIA suggests that US crude oil production has reached a turning point. Weekly data released on 22 April revealed the third output decline in four weeks.

At 9.366 million barrels per day (mb/d), US crude oil output is now 66,000 barrels per day (kb/d) less than the peak reached on 20 March 2015.