MARKET WATCH: NYMEX oil prices rise modestly awaiting inventory report

Oil prices climbed modestly Dec. 24 during trading on the New York market on expectations that an improving US economy and increased travel during the holidays could boost gasoline demand.

Revised economic data released Dec. 20 showed the US gross domestic product rose more than had been previously estimated for the third quarter. Analysts primarily attributed the increase to rising consumer spending.

The US Energy Information Administration scheduled the release of both its weekly petroleum and gas storage reports for Dec. 27. Because of the Christmas holiday, the government’s petroleum inventory is being released 2 days later than normal while the gas storage report is coming 1 day later than normal.

In a weekly oil market recap, PIRA Energy Group of New York said its analysts believe Brent crude prices will remain robust going into next year.

“Brent crude prices will stay strong into the early part of the first quarter, supported by relatively tight global supply-demand balances and low inventories,” PIRA said.

Energy prices

The New York Mercantile Exchange February crude contract climbed 31¢ on Dec. 24 to close at $99.22/bbl. The March contract rose 45¢ to settle at $99.34/bbl.

Heating oil for January delivery climbed 1.8¢, settling at a rounded $3.08/gal. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for January delivery was up 3.4¢ to a rounded $2.81/gal.

The January natural gas contract on NYMEX declined 4.7¢ to settle at a rounded $4.42/MMbtu. On the US spot market, the gas price at Henry Hub, La., dropped 6.3¢ to a rounded $4.44/MMbtu.

In London, the February ICE contract for Brent crude oil climbed 34¢, closing Dec. 24 at $111.90/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for January was down $1.50 to settle at $944.25/tonne.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes closed at $108.73/bbl on Dec. 23, down 58¢. The OPEC Secretariat office was closed for part of Dec. 24 and remained closed for the rest of week.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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