MARKET WATCH: Syria crisis puts pressure on some oil markets

Crude oil prices in some world markets edged upwards Aug. 26 on reports that “tolerance of the West for what’s taking place in Syria appears to be coming to a head,” noted analysts with Raymond James & Associates Inc. US Sec. of State John Kerry described last week’s chemical attacks in Syria as “undeniable,” and multiple US and European officials said publicly that the Syrian regime must be punished, Raymond James analysts added.

“It remains unclear whether the US and/or allies will move forward with military strikes—but this time, the stern rhetoric feels more serious than before,” they said, adding, “But this potential escalation in the Middle East was not enough to drive supply fears [Aug. 26], especially not with Libyan exports restarting (630,000 bbl were shipped by tanker 3 days ago, according to Libya’s National Oil Corp.)."

The October contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped 50¢ to settle at $105.92/bbl on Aug. 26. The November contract fell 37¢ to $105.35/bbl.

Heating oil for October delivery decreased 1.6¢ to settle at a rounded $3.08/gal on NYMEX. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for September dropped 5.6¢ to $2.95/gal.

The September natural gas contract was up by 2.8¢ to close at $3.51/MMbtu on NYMEX. On the US spot market, gas at Henry Hub, La., declined by a rounded 4¢ to close at $3.55/MMbtu.

In London, the October IPE contract for North Sea Brent crude dropped 31¢ to $110.73/bbl. The September contract for gas oil settled at $940.25/tonne, down $1.50 from the previous session.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries reported its basket of 12 benchmark crudes closed at $108.36/bbl on Aug. 26, up 11¢.

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