MARKET WATCH: NYMEX, Brent crude oil prices end week with rally

Light, sweet crude oil prices for April rallied during Mar. 3 trading on the New York market to settle back above $53/bbl while the Brent crude oil contract for May rose on the London market to settle at $55.90/bbl. Oil prices were falling again in early Mar. 6 trading in New York.

Light, sweet crude oil prices for April rallied during Mar. 3 trading on the New York market to settle back above $53/bbl while the Brent crude oil contract for May rose on the London market to settle at $55.90/bbl. Oil prices were falling again in early Mar. 6 trading in New York.

The US benchmark has traded within a range of about $50-54/bbl for weeks. Analysts say crude prices likely will remain stuck within a tight-trading range for weeks to come. US oil production is rising while the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and some non-OPEC producers have cut production.

The Wall Street Journal polled 15 investment banks regarding their oil price expectations. The survey from late February showed bankers expect US light, sweet crude will average $55/bbl for 2017 while Brent crude will average at $57/bbl.

OPEC production data for month of February is scheduled to be released in a Monthly Oil Market report on March 14. Meanwhile, energy executives and government officials from across the world are attending CERAWeek in Houston this week.

OPEC Sec.-Gen. Mohammed Barkindo is scheduled to address the conference on Mar. 7. Market participants will be watching for any indicators about future production levels from him and other major producers.

US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Mar. 3 said in a speech that the Fed is likely to raise short-term interest rates at its Mar. 14-15 meeting. The dollar’s value against other currencies fell after her remarks. Oil trades in dollars so a falling dollar supports oil prices because it makes the commodity less expensive for buyers using other currencies.

The WSJ Dollar Index, measuring the US dollar against 16 other currencies, was down 0.5% to 91.48 after five sessions of gains. Yellen suggested more interest rate increases are likely this year if the US economy performs as expected. Higher rates support the dollar’s value.

Energy prices

The crude oil contract for April delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 72¢ on Mar. 3 to $53.33/bbl. The May contract was up 71¢ to $53.78/bbl.

The natural gas price for April rose 2¢ at a rounded $2.83/MMbtu. The cash gas price at the Henry Hub closed at $2.51/MMbtu, down 8¢.

Heating oil for April climbed 1.5¢ to a rounded $1.59/gal. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for April gained nearly 1¢ to a rounded $1.65/gal.

The Brent crude contract for May on London’s ICE was up 82¢ to $55.90/bbl. The Brent June contract gained 79¢ to $55.16/bbl. Gas oil closed at $484/tonne, unchanged from the previous session.

The average price for OPEC’s basket of benchmark crudes on Mar. 3 was $52.97/bbl, down 72¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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