Oil prices fell on Friday after U.S. crude inventories rose for a seventh week, showing the market is still struggling to ease oversupply despite many producers' efforts to rein in output. U.S. crude stocks rose by 564,000 barrels in the week to Feb. 17, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), although the gain was below analysts' expectations for an increase of 3.5 million barrels.
The continued rise in U.S. inventories comes as members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers have cut output.
Their joint compliance with a production-reduction deal reached at the end of last year was around 86 percent in January, according to OPEC sources quoting results from a technical committee meeting held this week.
The United States, which is not part of the deal, continues to ramp up production. Analysts at ING said they expected U.S. output to keep rising as prices remained strong enough to encourage further drilling.
"Prices continue to retreat on repeated failure to rise above the upper end of their trading ranges and yesterday's inventory data also weighs,"
In Asia, traders are selling oil held in tankers anchored off Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.