Oil futures rose intraday on Monday (20 February), but fears of an uptick in US crude production kept the market honest.
At 1:45pm GMT, the Brent front month futures contract was up 0.75% or 42 cents to $56.23 per barrel, while the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was 0.60% or 32 cents higher at $53.72 per barrel, as the market continues to weigh the upside pull of Opec cuts against the downside drag of higher US crude production.
Bolstering the latter sentiment was another weekly rig count by Baker Hughes, pointing to a year-over-year rise of 237 and 125 rigs, thereby raising the headline tally of 751 and 331 operational oil and gas rigs in US and Canada respectively for week ending 17 February.
Analysts at Vienna-based JBC Energy predict global crude supply to rise 1% year-over-year for 2017, or roughly 660,000 barrels per day (bpd), with West African growth set to lead all other regions both on a percentage and bpd basis.
"We see potential for 400,000 bpd of additional West African crude coming into the equation – with risk to the upside for all major crude exporters except Nigeria," they wrote in a client note.
Away from the oil market, precious metals remained on mixed turf, with gold, which spiked above $1,240 an ounce last Thursday, lurking just below the said level.
At 1:50pm GMT, the Comex gold futures contract for April delivery was down 0.03% or 40 cents at $1,238.70 an ounce, while spot gold was trading at $1,238.77 an ounce, up 0.34% or $4.17, as the dollar continues to register erratic trades.
FXTM research analyst Lukman Otunuga said rising political risks across the globe and overall market uncertainty have boosted gold's safe haven allure.
"The yellow metal is firmly bullish on the daily charts and could receive a further boost to the upside if the dollar comes under renewed selling pressure. From a technical standpoint, the consistently higher highs and higher lows on the daily chart coupled with prices trading firmly above the 20 simple moving averages have suggested that gold remains tilted to the upside."
A technical breakout and daily close above the $1,240 resistance could encourage a further incline higher towards $1,250 over the course of the trading week week. "This bullish daily setup remains valid as long as prices can keep above the previous $1,220 higher low," Otunuga concluded.
Elsewhere, Comex silver was down 0.21% or 4 cents at $18.07 an ounce, while spot platinum was up 0.05% or 52 cents to $1,003.85 an ounce.