MARKET WATCH: Oil, gas prices decline in uncertain market

Oil and stock prices were down Nov. 26 with markets pessimistic over the apparent lack of progress on a fiscal budget in Washington, DC. Natural gas fell 4% on milder weather forecasts.

Oil prices continued to retreat in early trading Nov. 27 despite a report the US consumer confidence index rose to 73.7 in November—its highest level since February 2008—from 73.1 in October. The number of new jobs also was up in August, September, and October, officials said.

However, traders still aren’t sure that will translate into increased demand for oil.

“As anticipated, the eruption of hostilities between Israel and Hamas did stem the liquidations of the previous 4 weeks. Net speculative length rose by a not particularly inspiring 2.6 million bbl,” said Marc Ground at Standard New York Securities Inc., the Standard Bank Group, about last week’s trading.

Energy prices

The January contract for benchmark US sweet, light crudes declined 54¢ to $87.74/bbl Nov. 26 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The February contract decreased 53¢ to $88.37/bbl. West Texas Intermediate at Cushing, Okla., increased to $87.74/bbl from $87.38/bbl on Nov. 21, the last day the US spot markets were open.

Heating oil for December delivery dropped 3.06¢ to $3.05/gal on NYMEX. Reformulated stock for oxygenate blending for the same month was down 1.76¢ to $2.73/gal.

The December natural gas contract fell 17.1¢ to $3.73/MMbtu on NYMEX. On the US spot market, gas at Henry Hub, La., increased to $3.77/MMbtu from $3.68/MMbtu Nov. 21.

In London, the January IPE contract for North Sea Brent retreated 46¢ to $110.92/bbl. Gas oil for December lost $3.75 to $948/tonne.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes was down 40¢ to $108.48/bbl.

Contact Sam Fletcher at samf@ogjonline.com.

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