MARKET WATCH: Brent crude oil futures down slightly with NYMEX closed on Presidents’ Day

Crude oil prices declined modestly in Feb. 17 trading while the New York futures commodities trading floor was closed for the US Presidents’ Day holiday.

Analysts expected US natural gas prices to rise during Feb. 18 trading because a snowstorm was moving into New England after crossing the Midwest and part of the Mid-Atlantic.

On world oil markets, analysts noted bombings in Iraq on Feb. 17. Initial police reports indicated that at least 25 people were killed and another 80 were wounded.  Three bombs exploded in Baghdad markets, and a fourth bomb exploded outside a mosque.

Meanwhile, international talks on Iran’s nuclear program resumed Feb. 18 in Vienna. Last year, Iran and the United Nations Security Council plus Germany agreed to a temporary pact intended to limit Iran’s nuclear program.

In London, the April ICE contract for Brent crude delivery was down 14¢, closing at $108.94/bbl.

The ICE gas oil contract for March climbed $4.25 to $924.25/tonne.

The Organizational of Petroleum Exporting Countries reported its basket of 12 benchmark crudes was $106.11/bbl on Feb. 17, up 53¢.

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