Market watch, Aug. 25

International energy futures prices dipped Thursday as traders took profits from recent rises, after a White House spokesman said the administration has not ruled out the possibility of releasing oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve to offset possible winter shortages.

Aug 25th, 2000


International energy futures prices dipped Thursday as traders took profits from recent rises, after a White House spokesman said the administration has not ruled out the possibility of releasing oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve to offset possible winter shortages.

The October contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes lost 39� to $31.63/bbl, while the November contract was down 47� to $31.09 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

However, in after-hours electronic trading, both contracts moved up to $31.69/bbl and $31.16/bbl, respectively.

The September contract for heating oil lost 0.28� to 95.33�/gal on the NYMEX, while unleaded gasoline for the same month gained 0.45� to 95.03�/gal.

The September natural gas contract dipped 6.5� to $4.54/Mcf.

In London, the October contract for North Sea Brent crude dropped 34� to $30.35/bbl, amid profit-taking. The September gas contract was basically unchanged at the equivalent of $2.47/Mcf on the International Petroleum Exchange.

Analysts expect the IPE to remain comfortably above the $30/bbl level with no new signals from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries of a possible increase in production.

Earlier this week, Iranian and Venezuelan oil officials said they perceive no severe shortage of crude. They claimed high product prices in consuming countries should be blamed on high taxation as well as short supplies of those items.

On the Singapore Exchange, the October contract for Brent crude oil closed down 35� at $30.35/bbl, while the November position fell 46� to $29.93.

The average price for OPEC's basket of seven crudes slumped 37� to $29.14/bbl on Thursday.

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