By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Nov. 24 -- Crude oil futures climbed past $50/bbl briefly on the New York Mercantile Exchange Tuesday before settling at $48.94/bblthe highest close since Nov. 8.
Analysts said traders were nervous about world oil supplies in advance of US inventory reports to be released Wednesday.
Trading volumes were light in New York Tuesday as many traders took time off before the long Thanksgiving weekend. NYMEX will be closed both Thursday and Friday for the holiday.
The new front-month January contract for benchmark US sweet, light crudes rose 30¢ to $48.94/bbl Tuesday on NYMEX after trading peaked during the daily session at $50.25/bbl.
The February position gained by 31¢ to $49.12/bbl. On the US spot market, West Texas Intermediate at Cushing, Okla., gained 25¢ to $48.75/bbl Tuesday.
Heating oil for December delivery edged up 0.09¢ to $1.4458/gal Tuesday on NYMEX. Gasoline for the same month gained 1.69¢ to $1.3063/gal. The December natural gas contract climbed by 3.1¢ to $6.793/MMbtu Tuesday.
In London, the January contract for North Sea Brent crude was up by 7¢ to $44.45/bbl on the International Petroleum Exchange.
The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of seven benchmark crudes gained 7¢ to $38.69/bbl Tuesday.