Energy futures slip in NYMEX trading

Energy futures prices slipped in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Tuesday. Traders booked their profits after the market's significant rise during the last few sessions. As there was no news of fundamental nature, profit-taking weakened the market.


Energy futures prices slipped in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Tuesday. Traders booked their profits after the market's significant rise during the last few sessions. As there was no news of fundamental nature, profit-taking weakened the market.

The October contract for benchmark light, sweet crude declined by 37� to settle at $36.51/bbl, while the November contract ended stood at $35.01, down by 54�.

Refined petroleum products also closed lower, with October home heating oil losing 2.24� to settle at $1.0191/gal, while unleaded gasoline for the same month gave back 0.69� to end at 96.33�.

However, NYMEX natural gas for October delivery advanced by 6.8� to end at $5.36/Mcf.

A statement by Al�odr�ez Araque, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries conference president and Venezuelan energy and mines minister, had some effect on the market. The minister reiterated OPEC's position that it favored crude prices in the range of $22-28/bbl.

He also indicated that OPEC might be willing to discuss further production increases during the summit meeting if the market conditions so demanded.

However, in after-hours electronic access trading in New York, light, sweet crude was fetching $37.14/bbl for the October position and $35.52 for the November contract, both up from the NYMEX close.

This reflected a drawdown in domestic petroleum stocks last week, as disclosed by the American Petroleum Institute after the end of NYMEX trading.

Meanwhile, in London Tuesday, North Sea Brent crude oil futures also fell at the close of trading on the International Petroleum Exchange. Brokers said Mideast tensions and the expectation of a bullish report on US oil stocks overnight had kept prices fairly firm.

Traders said US President Bill Clinton�s statement Tuesday that he needed a few more days to decide whether and how to release any of the country's strategic oil reserves helped to support markets.

On Tuesday, IPE November Brent futures settled at $33.63/bbl, down 83� from the previous close. Also on the IPE, the October natural gas contract gained 11�, closing at $3.15.

The price of the OPEC basket of seven crudes stood at $32.41/bbl Tuesday, compared with $32.98 the previous day.

More in Reserves