Oil prices settle mixed as traders assess demand-supply risks

NEW YORK, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices settled mixed on Friday as market participants assessed risks from both the demand and supply sides.

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for March delivery lost 14 cents to settle at 52.20 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for March delivery rose 35 cents to close at 55.88 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

Brent has been fluctuating for days between 55 dollars and 56 dollars per barrel, WTI between 52 dollars and 53 dollars per barrel.

"Restrictions on the demand side because of the lockdowns are countered by a sufficient reduction in supply on the other. This is preventing prices from falling or rising to any significant extent," Carsten Fritsch, energy analyst at Commerzbank Research, said in a note Friday.

Earlier in the month, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, widely known as OPEC+, agreed to keep most oil production curbs in place from February to the end of March.

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, pledged a voluntary oil production cut of 1 million barrels per day beyond the required OPEC+ quotas in February and March.

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