MARKET WATCH: NYMEX settles under $55/bbl, Brent below $59/bbl

Crude oil benchmarks gained modestly on Aug. 16 but ended the week with light, sweet crude oil settling under $55/bbl for September and October contracts on the New York market while Brent settled under $59/bbl for both contracts in London.

Crude oil benchmarks gained modestly on Aug. 16 but ended the week with light, sweet crude oil settling under $55/bbl for September and October contracts on the New York market while Brent settled under $59/bbl for both contracts in London.

US natural gas futures declined 3¢ on Aug. 16, just a day after posting their largest single-day gain in more than a month.

The US Department of Commerce said Aug. 15 that retail sales rose 0.7% in July, well above expectations of a 0.3% rise. Consumers bought various goods although they cut back on vehicle purchases. Oil prices climbed as US oil investors evaluated that news.

“The July number shows that the weakest economic data that people keep pointing out to for a global slowdown is coming from outside US, not inside US,” Randy Frederick, vice-president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, told Reuters.

But oil prices dropped after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Country released its Monthly Oil Market Report in which it lowered its 2019 oil demand growth forecast, citing slowing world economic growth.

OPEC reduced its forecast for oil demand growth for 2019 to 1.1 million b/d compared with an earlier forecast of 1.14 million b/d.

Secondary sources estimated total OPEC-14 preliminary crude oil production averaged 29.61 million b/d in July, lower by 246,000 b/d than in June. Crude oil production declined in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Libya, Venezuela, and Nigeria. Production increased in Iraq and Algeria.

Energy prices

Light, sweet crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange for September delivery dropped 40¢ to $54.87/bbl on Aug. 16 while the October contract declined 39¢ to $54.81/bbl.

The NYMEX natural gas price for September declined 3¢ to a rounded $2.20/MMbtu.

Ultralow-sulfur diesel for September rose less than 1¢ to remain at $1.81/gal. The NYMEX reformulated gasoline blendstock for September increased 2¢ to a rounded $1.65/gal.

Brent crude for October increased 41¢ to $58.64/bbl. The November contract gained 37¢ to settle at $58.16/bbl.

Gas oil for September declined 50¢ to $559.50/tonne on Aug. 16.

The average for OPEC’s basket of crudes for Aug. 16 was $59.13/bbl, up 26¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at pdittrick@endeavorb2b.com.

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