MARKET WATCH
NYMEX crude prices rally in light trading

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, May 6 -- Crude futures prices rallied in light trading May 5 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The June contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes escalated by 70¢ to $50.83/bbl on NYMEX, while the July contract increased by 59¢ to $52.49/bbl. On the US spot market, West Texas Intermediate at Cushing, Okla., was up by 70¢ to $50.84/bbl. Gasoline for June delivery rose by 1.28¢ to $1.48/gal on NYMEX, but heating oil for the same month lost 1.08¢ to $1.44/gal.

The June natural gas contract increased by 6.1¢ to $6.69/MMbtu, as traders covered excess sales contracts following the run-up in crude futures prices late in the session. However, analysts at Enerfax Daily noted a "fairly neutral" report on US natural gas storage and moderating weather "that should cut demand."

The Energy Information Administration on May 5 reported that, because of cooler weather, only 39 bcf of natural gas was injected into US underground storage during the week ended Apr. 29. That was down from injections of 73 bcf the previous week and 72 bcf during the same period a year ago. Us gas storage now stands at nearly 1.5 tcf, up by 238 bcf from a year ago and 293 bcf above the 5-year average.

In London, the June contract for North Sea Brent crude inched up by 16¢ to $51.13/bbl.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of seven benchmark crudes increased by 30¢ to $47.63/bbl on May 5.

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