Market watch: Crude oil futures prices mixed Tuesday

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, May 8 -- Crude oil futures prices rose in New York trading Tuesday but declined in London while the markets awaited an inventory report that some analysts had expected to show a drop in US crude inventories.

The drop proved to be bigger than had been forecast. After trading closed Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute said US crude oil stocks fell by 4.5 million bbl last week while distillates, including heating oil and diesel, declined by 426,000 bbl. Gasoline inventories rose 3.9 million bbl.

Meanwhile, tensions mounted again between the Isrealis and Palestinians upon news of a suicide bombing Tuesday at a pool hall that killed 15 Israelis in Rishon Letzion, south of Tel Aviv. Isreali Prime Minister Ariel Sharon quickly promised retaliation.

Sharon was in Washington, DC, when the news broke, but he cut short his visit at the White House with President George W. Bush in order to return home.

The June contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes gained 51¢ to $26.63/bbl on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while the July contract rose 41¢ to $26.16/bbl. Both advanced in after-hours electronic trading to $27.10/bbl and $26.54/bbl, respectively.

Unleaded gasoline for June delivery rose 0.83¢ to 78.28¢/gal during regular trade Tuesday on NYMEX. Heating oil for the same month gained 0.88¢ to 65.86/gal. The June natural gas contract added 0.78¢ to $3.67/Mcf.

In London, the June contract for North Sea Brent oil declined by 34¢ to $25.53/bbl on the International Petroleum Exchange. The June natural gas contract rose by 4¢ to the equivalent of $1.85/Mcf on the IPE.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of seven benchmark crudes rose 23¢ to $24.75/bbl Tuesday.

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