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Crude oil futures end lower on Friday

Crude oil futures ended lower on Friday, after wavering between gains and losses in anticipation of renewed US economic sanctions on Iran. Besides, speculation that OPEC supplies are declining, supported the crude prices. Moreover, the overall US rig count continues its climb with a slight gain this week. Baker Hughes' calculation of active US rigs increased by 1 unit during the week ended May 18 to 1,046. Rigs drilling for oil were unchanged at 844 rigs compared with last week, while those rigs targeting natural gas gained 1 unit to 200 rigs.

Benchmark crude oil futures for June delivery dropped 21 cents or 0.30 percent to settle at $71.28 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. July Brent crude slipped 79 cents or 1.00 percent to settle at $78.51 a barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange.

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