Market watch: Market indicators produce futures price mix

June 10, 2002
Energy futures prices were mixed Friday as traders reacted to weak market indicators.

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, June10 -- Energy futures prices were mixed Friday as traders reacted to weak market indicators.

A downturn in US equities market was interpreted as a sign of economic weakness that could lead to less demand for petroleum, analysts said. Higher levels of US petroleum inventories and a slower-than-usual increase in gasoline demand this summer also were factors, they said.

Moreover, international sources reported world demand for jet fuel remained below expected levels since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on US targets.

Meanwhile, Chakib Khelil, Algeria's minister of mines and energy, reported a consensus among members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to maintain present production quotas at their special meeting June 26 in Vienna.

The July contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes dipped 4¢ to $24.75/bbl Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while the August contract advanced by the same amount to $25.02/bbl. However, both retreated in after-hours electronic trading to $24.60/bbl and $24.85/bbl, respectively.

Unleaded gasoline for July delivery lost 0.61¢ to 75.09¢/gal on NYMEX. Heating oil for the same month was down 0.31¢ to 63.17¢/gal. However, the July natural gas contract inched up 2.2¢ to $3.20/Mcf.

Oil prices also weakened in London, with the July contract for North Sea Brent oil retreating by 10¢ to $24.30/bbl on the International Petroleum Exchange. The July natural gas contract, however, gained 0.4¢ to the equivalent of $1.76/Mcf on IPE.

The average price for OPEC's basket of seven crudes declined by 23¢ to $23.02/bbl Friday. For all of last week, however, that basket price averaged $23.36/bbl, down from $23.80/bbl during the last week of May.

So far this year, the OPEC basket price has averaged $21.94/bbl, including averages of $24.76/bbl for May and $24.88/bbl for April. That compares with an average price of $23.12/bbl for all of 2001.