MARKET WATCH: Oil prices ease as market anxieties recede

Global oil prices continued to decline Sept. 19 as market anxiety about turmoil in the Middle East continued to subside, according to analysts at Barclays Capital Inc.

“With the threat of a Western military intervention in Syria off the table for now, market anxiety about Middle East turmoil continued to recede this week,” they said, adding, “Though no oil supplies were at immediate risk from a US military action in Syria, there were fears that it could trigger a wider regional conflict potentially involving countries such Iran, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.”

Barclays analysts said currently there are “contrasting forces” at play in crude oil markets. “Brent prices have slowly receded from the geopolitics-driven watermark above $115/bbl, only to be caught in a new macrodriven current as the Fed surprised the market by leaving its [quantitative easing program] untouched,” they said.

Energy prices

The October contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes on the New York Mercantile Exchange declined $1.68 on Sept. 19, settling at $106.39/bbl. The November crude contract fell $1.42 to settle at $105.86/bbl.

Heating oil for October delivery dropped about 3.7¢ to a rounded $3/gal on NYMEX. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for October edged down about 0.5¢ to a rounded $2.70/gal.

The October natural gas contract edged up 0.7¢ to $3.72/MMbtu on NYMEX. On the US spot market, the gas price at Henry Hub, La. was a rounded $3.73/MMbtu, 0.6¢ higher than the previous day.

In London, the November IPE contract for North Sea Brent crude fell $1.84 to $108.76/bbl. The October contract for gas oil settled at $934.50/tonne, a gain of $10.25.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries reported its basket of 12 benchmark crudes increased $1.14 to $108.40/bbl on Sept. 19.

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