Crude oil futures end lower on Thursday

Crude oil futures ended lower for second straight session on Thursday, as concerns about reduced fuel demand weighed on prices, outweighing hopes about the likely extension of production cuts by OPEC and its allies. Recent data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showing a larger than expected increase in crude inventories in the U.S. weighed as well. Data showing a slowdown in the annual rate of consumer price growth in January has generated some optimism about the outlook for interest rates. Persisting concerns about supply disruptions due to the tensions in the Middle East limited oil's downside.

Benchmark crude oil futures for April delivery fell $0.28 or about 0.40% to settle at $78.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for April delivery was down by $0.44 or 0.55% to $81.71 per barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange.