MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude futures price holds above $104/bbl

Crude oil futures prices declined modestly on the New York market during May 27 trading but still settled above $104/bbl while analysts awaited the US inventory report and continued to monitor news events in Libya and Ukraine.

The US Energy Information Administration plans to release its weekly inventory data on May 29, one day later than normal because of the Memorial Day holiday. Analysts polled by Reuters in advance of the report expected a boost in oil stockpiles for the week ended May 23.

In Libya’s Benghazi, the leader of Islamist militant group Ansar al-Sharia warned against interference by the US government, saying the situation could prove worse than the conflicts in Somalia, Iraq, or Afghanistan.

Ole Hansen, SaxoBank Research head of commodity strategy, said Brent oil prices have been “well supported during the past couple of weeks as Libyan oil production once again has almost come to a halt.”

Violence continued in Ukraine where the military reportedly killed more than 50 pro-Russian rebels in an assault May 26-27 following a weekend presidential election. Initial results showed businessman Petro Poroshenko won a majority in the first round of voting even though many polling places were disrupted in eastern Ukraine.

Energy prices

The New York Mercantile Exchange July crude oil contract price dropped 24¢, closing at $104.11/bbl on May 27. The August contract dropped 25¢ to $103.18/bbl.

The June natural gas contract rose 10¢ to a rounded $4.51/MMbtu.

Heating oil for June delivery declined by 1.5¢ to at a rounded $2.94/gal. Reformulated gasoline blendstock dropped 2.8¢ to a rounded $3/gal.

In London, the July ICE contract for Brent crude delivery was down 30¢, closing at $110.02/bbl on May 27. UK markets were closed May 26 for a spring bank holiday. The August contract decreased 27¢ to settle at $109.32/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for August rose $2.75 to $912/tonne.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes was $106.79, up 6¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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