Market watch: Bullish reports of US inventories boost energy futures prices

Futures prices for oil and petroleum products increased Wednesday with bullish reports of US inventories by both the American Petroleum Institute and the US Department of Energy.

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, July 11-- Futures prices for oil and petroleum products increased Wednesday with bullish reports of US inventories by both the American Petroleum Institute and the US Department of Energy.

API reported late Tuesday that US oil stocks dropped by 6.1 million bbl last week, while the DOE reported early Wednesday that the decline was 4.2 million bbl.

US gasoline inventories also were down—by 2.39 million bbl, according to API, or 1.7 million bbl, according to DOE. Distillate inventories increased by 3.21 million bbl, said API, or 3.1 million bbl, according to DOE figures.

The August contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes jumped by 68¢ to $26.77/bbl Wednesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while the September position gained 66¢ to $26.76/bbl.

Unleaded gasoline for August delivery rose 2.03¢ to 78.99¢/gal, and heating oil for the same month increased by 1.62¢ to 68.67¢/gal. However, the August natural gas contract dropped 12.7¢ to $2.86/Mcf.

In London, futures prices for North Sea Brent crude rallied at $25.50/bbl by midday Wednesday, then briefly pushed through the $26/bbl barrier on the International Petroleum Exchange.

The August Brent contract closed at $25.93/bbl, up 76¢ for the day after trading as high as $26.02/bbl. But brokers said that market appeared technically stronger and could quickly move above $26/bbl if follow-through trading emerged.

The August natural gas contract gained 1.7¢ to the equivalent of $2.30/Mcf on the IPE.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of seven benchmark crudes increased by 42¢ to $24.94/bbl Wednesday.

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