Brent crude oil was set to end the week with its greatest weekly loss since December after the US Federal Reserve began to waver on its current bond buying policy. The commodity traded at $114.45 at 9:53 GMT on Friday, a $1 gain from Thursday's price, but not enough to close the gap.
US Federal Reserve policy meeting minutes showed that several officials were considering slowing or stopping the current asset buying program. However, poor economic data from the US suggested only a mild improvement and could support the program's continuation.
Investors are also beginning to worry about the US budget debate, which if not resolved by March 1st, could result in immense spending cuts throughout the US government. President Barack Obama called on Republican leaders to resume negotiations on Thursday.
Data from the American Petroleum Institute on Thursday also supported a bearish oil market, as the report showed that oil demand had fallen nearly 2 percent since last year. According to CNBC, American crude oil stockpiles were also at their highest level since July of 2012 as well.
Tension over Iran's nuclear program was largely overshadowed by economic factors; however Brent did receive some support after UN officials reported Iran was furthering its progress by installing advanced centrifuges at its largest uranium enrichment plant. The report came just days before UN officials resume negotiations with Iran next week.
US lawmakers have been working on a bill which would prohibit the European Central Bank from doing business with Iran, causing most to expect further sanctions to be implemented.
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