Crude Edges Down In Asia As U.S. Rig Count Data Ahead

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Crude prices eased slightly in Asia on Friday with investors looking ahead to U.S. rig count data from oilfield services firm Baker Hughes and light trade ahead of the Christmas holiday.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for February delivery eased 0.50 percent to $52.67. Global benchmark Brent crude dipped 0.4 percent to $54.86 a barrel.

Last week, Baker Hughes said the number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. last week rose by 12 to 510, a level not seen in almost a year.

Earlier this week, U.S. crude stocks rose by 2.3 million barrels at the end of last week as gasoline and distillate inventories fell, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said, marking the first weekly build in five weeks and well above an expected fall of 2.5 million barrels.

The figures were also at odds with estimates from the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday that showed a larger-than-expected 4.1-million-barrel crude draw.

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