By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Nov. 26 -- Crude oil and refined products futures prices fell on the New York Mercantile Exchange Monday, with a steep dive in gasoline prices taking down the rest of the energy complex. Traders said the market lacked any bullish news.
Futures prices were expected to rebound somewhat Tuesday upon anxiety about whether the return of the United Nations' weapons inspectors to Iraq will be successful. The arms experts are slated to begin looking for weapons of mass destruction Wednesday.
A UN resolution demands that Iraq disarm or face military consequences. Baghdad has said it will comply with the resolution and will give inspectors unlimited access to suspected weapons sites.
The January contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes declined 65¢ to $26.11/bbl Monday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while the February position was down 60¢ to $26.05/bbl.
Unleaded gasoline for December delivery declined 3.32¢ to 71.55¢/gal on NYMEX. Heating oil for the same month also ended lower, falling 1.60¢ to 75.04¢/gal.
Natural gas for December delivery held steady from the previous day's trading close at $4.26/Mcf.
In London, the January contract for North Sea Brent oil lost 54¢ to $24.67/bbl Monday on the International Petroleum Exchange. The day's high was $24.78/bbl and the low was $24.05/bbl. However, the price for the December gas contract on IPE continued its earlier decline to the equivalent of $3.38/Mcf, which also reflected a falling currency exchange rate.
The average price for OPEC's basket of seven benchmark crudes decreased by 29¢ to $24.97/bbl Monday.