MARKET WATCH: Crude prices rebound in New York futures market

The front-month crude contract rose 0.9% May 28, ending a four-session decline in the New York market. Natural gas continued to fall, however, down 1.5%.

The US stock market “regained its footing” after the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank confirmed support for economic stimulus programs. The equity market’s recovery “was also supported by stronger consumer sentiment data and higher-than-expected home-sale prices, which combined to drive the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index up 0.6%,” said analysts in the Houston office of Raymond James & Associates Inc. “Energy helped lead the way,” they said, with the SIG Oil Exploration & Production Index and the Oil Service Index up 1.1% and 0.8%, respectively. However, crude and gas were down in early trading May 29, “taking a cue from the broader market,” Raymond James analysts said.

Ministers of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are scheduled to meet May 31. “Comments by Saudi Arabia's leadership suggest that the nation is content with the demand side of the equation,” Raymond James analysts said. “Of course with Brent crude still above the $100/bbl benchmark, OPEC producers don't have much to complain about.”

Energy prices

The July contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes regained 76¢ to $95.01/bbl May 28 after losing $2.56 over the four sessions on the New York Mercantile Exchange prior to the Memorial Day holiday. The August contract recouped 78¢ to $95.20/bbl. On the US spot market, West Texas Intermediate at Cushing, Okla., was up 76¢ to $95.01/bbl in step with the front-month futures contract.

Heating oil for June delivery took back 4.97¢ to $2.96/gal on NYMEX. Reformulated stock for oxygenate blending for the same month continued its advance, up 2.47¢ to $2.85/gal.

The June natural gas contract continued to retreat, falling 8.7¢ to $4.17/MMbtu on NYMEX. On the US spot market, gas at Henry Hub, La., inched up 0.8¢, also closing at a rounded $4.17/MMbtu.

In London, the July IPE contract for North Sea Brent increased $1.61 to $104.23/bbl. Gas oil for June jumped $17.25 to $875.75/tonne.

The average price for OPEC’s basket of 12 benchmark crudes was up $1.55 to $101.11/bbl.

Contact Sam Fletcher at samf@ogjonline.com.

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