On Monday, U.S. crude oil prices dropped under $50 per barrel but remained close to multi-month highs among a fall in shale drilling and as refineries continued to resume following Hurricane Harvey. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 declined 27 cents at $49.62 at 1115 GMT, but still close to Thursday’s near-four month high of $50.50.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 dropped 33 cents at $55.29 a barrel, hovering near an five-month high of $55.99 on Thursday.

“Demand forecasts from OPEC and IEA … continued to improve sentiment in the market. Refineries are also reporting a much better recovery from the recent hurricanes,” ANZ bank reported.

Oil refineries across the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean were resuming after being closed as hurricanes Harvey and Irma bulldozed the region over the past three weeks.

U.S. energy firms trimmed seven oil rigs in the week to Sept. 15, bringing the total to 749, the least since June, energy services company Baker Hughes reported on Friday. Speculators hiked their net long positions in Brent futures and options by 16,962 contracts to 430,699 in the week to Sept. 12, InterContinental Exchange (ICE) data displayed, the highest level since March. The advance was the first in four weeks.

Hedge funds and other money managers trimmed their bullish wages on U.S. crude futures and options in the week to Sept. 12, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission stated on Friday.


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