Oil prices fell in early Asian trading today.

Reuters reported that Brent crude futures fell 43 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $81.76 per barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 46 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $76.83 per barrel.

While concerns about supplies in the Middle East remained relatively high, news from the United States subsequently calmed the concerns.

US energy companies increased the number of oil and natural gas rigs to their highest levels since mid-December, which may indicate an increase in production.

Domestic production returned last week to a record level of 13.3 million barrels per day.

Concerns about demand remain, as a Federal Reserve official said she was not interested in recommending an interest rate cut, which increases voices calling for more measures to curb inflation.

High interest rates slow economic growth, reducing demand for oil.

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