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Crude Oil Dips In Asia Ahead Of Rig Count Figures, Saudi-Iran Tensions Eyed

Crude drifts lower in Asia - Crude oil prices fell in Asia on Friday ahead of U.S. weekly rig count data that showed a dip in the previous week, but also with a sharp eye on the Middle East as tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, key OPEC members, simmer.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for December delivery eased 0.26% to $57.02 a barrel, while on London\'s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent dipped 0.02% to $63.80 a barrel.

Overnight, crude oil prices settled higher on Thursday amid ongoing unrest in the Middle East while Saudi Arabia’s plan to slash crude exports lifted sentiment.

Saudi Arabia plans to cut its crude exports by 120,000 barrels per day in December compared with November, slashing allocations to all regions, Reuters reported Thursday, citing a energy ministry spokesman.

The reports of Saudi’s plan to reduce exports came as investor fears grew of instability in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia warned its citizens not to travel to Lebanon and urged the international community to impose fresh sanctions on Iran.

The escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran come after Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman accused Iran of “direct military aggression” by supplying Houthi rebels in Yemen with missiles, one of which was fired towards the Riyadh on Saturday.

Analysts at RBC said the recent rally in oil prices is more sustainable than previous rallies, as geopolitical risk would play an increasingly larger “needle-moving” role as the excess oil supplies continued to narrow.

Crude prices remained on track for fifth straight weekly win despite a report showing that U.S. crude supplies rose last week last week.

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