(New York) Oil prices ended very slightly down on Friday, after a very volatile week for prices.

The price of a barrel of North Sea Brent for February delivery fell 0.07% to $76.55.

Its American equivalent, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in January, fell 0.20% to $71.43.

“There was no special news today and the market fluctuated on both sides of the balance,” commented Andy Lipow of Lipow Oil Associates.

The analyst points out that we are entering a week close to the end-of-year holidays and that brokers “are not particularly interested in taking significant positions”.

“When there is little trading volume, the market can become very volatile” as price movements are exacerbated, he warned.

On Wednesday, crude prices had “benefited from much-needed support” driven by the US Federal Reserve (Fed) and “market forecasts for a policy change in 2024”, says Han Tan, an analyst at Exinity.

As expected, the US central bank kept rates in a range of 5.25-5.50% on Wednesday, the highest in 22 years.

But above all, Fed officials mostly anticipate three or four cuts next year, bringing them to 4.6% at the end of 2024.

These prospects are favorable for energy demand and have also weighed on the dollar.

Since black gold prices are denominated in dollars, a depreciation of the American currency encourages oil purchases by increasing the purchasing power of buyers using foreign currencies.

“As long as the US dollar continues to weaken on these hopes of a Fed turnaround, this should support oil benchmarks,” Tan continues.

But the market remains “concerned by the fact that American, Guyanese and Brazilian production were higher than expected, which led Opec “to widen its production cuts,” Mr. Lipow further underlined.