MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude prices rose before Memorial Day holiday

Crude oil futures prices rose on the New York market during May 23 trading in advance of the US Memorial Day holiday. US markets were closed May 26 for the holiday, and the government’s weekly inventory reports for oil and gas storage will be delayed one day from normal this week.

In Ukraine, businessman Petro Poroshenko apparently won the presidential election during the weekend although pro-Russia separatists blocked voting in the eastern parts of the country. Russian President Vladimir Putin has pledged to respect the election outcome.

Poroshenko and Putin say they are willing to negotiate, but analysts believe the potential for escalating Ukraine-Russia conflict remains. Fighting was reported May 26 between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists.

During a May 24 interview with Reuters and other news services, Putin blamed the violence and political instability in Ukraine on the West. He dismissed talk of a new Cold War and denied suggestions by some that he is trying to rebuild the Soviet Union, Reuters reported.

“I would not like to think this is the start of a new Cold War. It is in no one’s interest, and I think it will not happen,” Putin told journalists in the Konstantinovsky Palace on the Gulf of Finland.

Energy prices

The New York Mercantile Exchange July crude oil contract price jumped 61¢, closing at $104.35/bbl on May 23. The August contract gained 56¢ to $103.43/bbl.

The June natural gas contract rose 4.6¢ to a rounded $4.41/MMbtu.

Heating oil for June delivery gained less than a penny to remain at a rounded $2.95/gal. Reformulated gasoline blendstock rose 1.77¢ to a rounded $3.02/gal.

In London, the July ICE contract for Brent crude delivery was up 18¢, closing at $110.54/bbl on May 23 while the August contract increased 24¢ to settle at $109.80/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for June declined 75¢ to $912.75/tonne.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes on May 23 was $106.92/bbl, down 8¢. The OPEC basket on May 26 was $106.73/bbl, down 19¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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