U.S. crude was range bound on Friday as the market balanced support from a draw down in domestic crude stockpiles against technical sell points that have kept oil from rallying higher, while Brent was lower as traders awaited developments in the Ukraine crisis.
U.S. oil ended down 27 cents at $99.99 per barrel, finishing the week marginally higher but with its first weekly gain in three. On Thursday, government data on Wednesday showed crude supplies fell last week for the first time since late March. Brent crude for June fell 20 cents to stay under $108 per barrel and was on track to 0.6 percent lower over last week.
The Energy Information Administration also reported another sizeable draw at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery point for the American futures benchmark. The data drove global prices higher up for a one-day rally that notched gains of more than $1 per barrel for both U.S. crude and Brent, but both contracts fell on Thursday.
U.S. crude prices have been contained in a tight $2-trading range throughout the week, struggling to rise much above the 200-day moving average at $100.48 and finding a floor at the 100-day moving average of 99.44, though analysts expected prices would soon fall further.
Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Crimea for the first time since Russia annexed the peninsula from Ukraine, a move that angered Kiev and upset the West, while bloody clashes broke out between pro-Moscow separatists and Ukrainian forces in the port of Mariupol. Separatists in eastern Ukraine will go ahead on Sunday with a referendum on self-rule that could lead to war with Ukraine, having ignored a public call from Putin on Thursday to postpone the vote.
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