Market watch, Aug. 21

Concerns about US winter heating oil stocks helped lift crude oil and heating oil in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Friday.


Concerns about US winter heating oil stocks helped lift crude oil and heating oil in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Friday.

Analysts however say refiners are not keen to buy crude at current high prices and are hoping crude prices will go down. Their caution may lead to heating oil supply problems this winter.

Also, uncertainty about whether the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is likely to raise oil production introduced some confusion into trading, though many traders seem to think that OPEC is unlikely to kill the golden goose by deliberately decreasing $30+/bbl prices for oil.

On the NYMEX, the September contract for light, sweet crude continued its upward trend to close at 31.99, up 5� from opening. The contract expires tomorrow.

The October contract leapt 26� to close at $31.56.

Refined products were mixed in trading on the NYMEX. No. 2 heating oil closed at 89.91�/gal, up 1.51�, while gasoline was down 0.3� to close at 94.3�/gal.

The September NYMEX contract for natural gas closed up 4.6� at $4.436/Mcf.

In London on the International Petroleum Exchange, the October contract for Brent crude oil closed at $30.44/bbl, up 4� from open. The November contract closed at $29.86, up 11�.

Also on the IPE, the September natural gas contract closed at the equivalent of $2.42, up 2�.

According to the OPEC monthly oil market report, the price of the organization's basket of seven crudes fell from $29.12/bbl in June to $27.94 in July.

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