MARKET WATCH: Crude oil price rises in mixed market

The front-month crude contract increased 0.3% July 15 in the New York futures market, accompanying gains in the equity market as “better-than-feared” Chinese growth data outweighed subpar US retail sales, said analysts in the Houston office of Raymond James & Associates Inc.

However, energy stocks bucked both the higher price of crude and the rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, with the SIG Oil Exploration & Production Index dipping 0.1% and the Oil Service Index down 0.3%.

“Crude oil markets are still being buoyed by geopolitical concerns, largely shrugging off yesterday’s disappointing US retails sales numbers,” said Marc Ground at Standard New York Securities Inc., the Standard Bank Group. Oil futures were up in early trading July 16 with the market anticipating another strong drawdown of US crude inventories for a third consecutive week.

“Analysts are looking for gasoline inventories to drop 1.7 million bbl, while distillate stocks are seen rising 1.5 million bbl. Refinery utilization rates are expected to ease by 0.4%,” Ground said.

Energy prices

The August and September contracts for benchmark US sweet, light crudes rose 37¢ each to $106.32/bbl and $105.92/bbl, respectively, July 15 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On the US spot market, West Texas Intermediate at Cushing, Okla., was up by the same amount to match the closing price of the August futures contract.

Heating oil for August delivery dipped 0.33¢ but closed essentially unchanged at a rounded $3.03/gal on NYMEX. Reformulated stock for oxygenate blending for the same month retreated 1.46¢ to $3.10/gal.

The August natural gas contract continued its rally, up 3¢ to $3.67/MMbtu on NYMEX. On the US spot market, gas at Henry Hub, La., regained 6.2¢ to $3.68/MMbtu.

In London, the August IPE contract for North Sea Brent increased 28¢ to $109.09/bbl. Gas oil for August inched up 25¢ to $916.50/tonne.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes gained 49¢ to $105.31/bbl.

Contact Sam Fletcher at samf@ogjonline.com.

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