By Ovunc Kutlu
NEW YORK (AA) - Brent crude fell below $62 Friday after the number of oil rigs in the U.S. showed a sharp increase.
The international benchmark dipped to $61.72 per barrel at 1.40 EST (1840GMT), posting a daily loss of 4.7 percent, and reaching its lowest level since Dec. 7.
The American benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, hit $58.09 a barrel -- a 5 percent loss that marked its lowest level since Dec. 22.
The price declines were posted after the number of oil rigs in the U.S. jumped by 26, its highest weekly gain in a year, according to data released by oilfield services company Baker Hughes.
The number of rigs, which indicates the short-term change in the U.S.'s oil industry, is now at 791 -- its highest since April 2015 -- and a 34 percent increase over the last year.
The U.S.'s crude production hit a record high level last week by climbing to 10.25 million barrels per day (mbpd), according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Crude output in the U.S. is expected to average 10.6 mbpd this year, an EIA report said earlier this week.
The U.S.' crude production is projected to reach 11.2 mbpd next year to surpass Russia as the world's biggest crude producer.