MARKET WATCH: Oil futures prices ease; Brent stays above $112/bbl

Crude oil prices for August delivery on the New York market fell for a third consecutive session on June 30, and analysts noted the front-month price reached its lowest level since June 11, which was the day before crude prices had spiked upon concerns about possible interruptions to Iraqi crude supply.

“We’ve now pulled back to, really, the level where we took off,” Bob Yawger, Mizuho Securities USA Inc. director of futures told the Wall Street Journal. “We are in the process of clawing back some of that territory we gave away on Iraqi concerns.”

Crude oil prices posted losses on both the New York and London markets after having risen for two consecutive weeks on concerns that insurgency in northern Iraq might spread across the country and threaten oil production in southern Iraq.

“The international community has come to the realization that the Sunni militants are going to be hard-pressed to move into that area in anytime in the near future,” Yawger told WSJ.

Front-month Brent crude oil prices hovered above $112/bbl on June 30, having risen to $110-115/bbl since the violence in Iraq started escalating. Previously, Brent was in a range of $105-110/bbl.

The International Energy Agency reported Iraq exported 2.7 million b/d of crude oil in May. Analysts suggest a tightening of Iraqi supply could strain worldwide crude inventories. Iraq is the second-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Energy prices

The New York Mercantile Exchange August crude oil contract fell 37¢ to $105.37/bbl on June 30. The September contract also fell, down 31¢ to $104.73/bbl.

The natural gas contract for August climbed 5.2¢ to a rounded $4.46/MMbtu. On the US cash market, gas at Henry Hub, La., was $4.42/MMbtu, up 4¢.

Heating oil for July delivery decreased 2.68¢ to a rounded $2.97/gal. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for July delivery dropped 2.18¢ to a rounded $3.08/gal.

The August ICE contract for Brent crude delivery declined 94¢, closing at $112.36/bbl. The September contract decreased 78¢ to $112.07/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for July relinquished $5.75 to $915/tonne.

The OPEC basket of 12 benchmark crudes for June 30 was $108.59/bbl, down 58¢ from June 27.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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