MARKET WATCH: Oil prices rise on bullish US economic data

Oil prices rose again Aug. 1 in New York and London markets, which analysts said was due to solid economic data coming out of China and the US, giving investors the added confidence that the global economy is headed in the right direction.

“The S&P 500 gained 1.3%, after China posted strong factory activity for July and the number of US workers seeking unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level since 2008,” analysts with Raymond James & Associates Inc. said Aug. 2. “This strong economic data, coupled with turmoil in Libya, helped to push WTI crude up 2.7%. Meanwhile, natural gas futures declined 1.7%, after the [US Energy Information Administration] report implied that cooler summer temperatures curbed the demand for gas-powered electricity,” they said.

Energy prices

The September contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes gained $2.86 to $107.89/bbl on Aug. 1 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The October contract climbed $2.71 to $106.93/bbl. On the US spot market, West Texas Intermediate at Cushing, Okla., was up $2.86 to $107.89/bbl.

Heating oil for September delivery gained 4¢ to $3.10/gal on NYMEX. Reformulated stock for oxygenate blending for the same month climbed 3¢ to $3.03/gal.

The front-month September natural gas contract lost 6¢ to $3.39/MMbtu on NYMEX. On the US spot market, gas at Henry Hub, La., declined 3¢ to $3.42/MMbtu.

In London, the September IPE contract for North Sea Brent was up $1.84 to $107.52/bbl. Gas oil for August increased $16.50 to $927/tonne.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes rose $1.13 to $106.10/bbl.

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