Market Watch, Sept. 8

Energy futures prices climbed further in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday, as markets failed to respond to expectations that an oil production increase will arise from this weekend's meeting of oil ministers from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries members. NYMEX crude for October delivery gained 49� on the day to end the day at $35.39/bbl, while the November contract stood at $34.54, up 56�.


Energy futures prices climbed further in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday, as markets failed to respond to the near certainty that an oil production increase will arise from this weekend's meeting of oil ministers from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries member-states.

NYMEX crude for October delivery gained 49� on the day to end the day at $35.39/bbl, while the November contract stood at $34.54, up 56�. Refined products also closed higher, with October home heating oil gaining 3.20� to finish at $102.86�/gal, and unleaded gasoline for that month rising 0.63� to settle at 100.43�/gal.

The October contract for NYMEX natural gas lost 7.3�, however, to close at $5.00/Mcf.

Traders said the market continued to rise on the momentum of previous sessions. Perceptions among New York traders were that the expected increase in OPEC production would not do much to alleviate the US inventory situation.

Weekly inventory numbers from the American Petroleum Institute�released a day late due to the Monday holiday in the US�did not do much to bolster the market. API said US crude stocks rose by 3.13 million bbl last week, while distillate stocks increased only 658,000 bbl.

In after-hours electronic trading, NYMEX crude fell slightly, to $34.75 for the October contract and $33.93 for November.

Meanwhile, in London trading on the International Petroleum Exchange Thursday, October Brent continued its rally, settling at $34.55/bbl, up 27�. Coincidentally, October Brent ended at the same price in Singapore trading, also up 27� on the day.

The OPEC basket of seven crudes stood at $33.84/bbl Thursday vs. $33.57 the previous day.

Brokers in London said news of US President Bill Clinton's talks with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz had little effect on the current extremely bullish sentiment. The Saudi crown prince reportedly assured Clinton that a substantial rise in oil production was imminent.

Analysts have predicted that OPEC will hike output by 500,000-800,000 b/d, but some observers say an increase of at least 1 million b/d is necessary if OPEC is going to have a significant impact on the runaway bull market.

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