Market watch, Nov. 9

Energy futures prices closed mixed in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Wednesday. News of Iraq resuming loading of its crude affected the market, as did an American Petroleum Institute weekly report that said crude oil and heating oil stocks both went up.

Energy futures prices closed mixed in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Wednesday.

The December contract for benchmark light, sweet crude pulled back by 16� to rest at $33.24/bbl for December delivery, while the January contract stood at $32.28, down by 1�.

Refined petroleum products ended mixed, with December home heating oil rising by 1� to finish at 95.93�/gal, while unleaded gasoline for the same month lost 1.68� to settle at 87.42�.

NYMEX natural gas for December delivery surged by 25.6� to end at $5.39/Mcf.

Crude gave back gains from the previous session on news of Iraq resuming loading of its crude in Turkey.

This operation was suspended because of a conflict with the United Nations over the currency paid by purchasers of Iraqi crude.

The American Petroleum Institute, meanwhile, reported after the end of Tuesday's NYMEX session that the nation's crude oil stocks rose by 35,000 bbl during the previous week, while home heating oil inventories expanded by 1.35 million bbl.

Home heating oil prices advanced on a report by the US Energy Information Administration, which stated that the nation's projected demand for the fuel had increased by 500,000 b/d for the fourth quarter.

In after-hours electronic access trading in New York, light, sweet crude was $33.22/bbl for the December position and $32.25 for the January contract, both down from the NYMEX close.

Meanwhile, in London Wednesday, North Sea Brent crude oil futures closed lower on the International Petroleum Exchange, but regained some of the day's earlier losses.

The reaction to the latest US inventory data from the API was mixed. The report was more bullish than expected in terms of stocks.

Brokers said that rising imports of refined products into the country were expected to continue through the winter, since refiners within the US were struggling to meet demand and severe weather was expected in the key consuming areas.

The threat of imports weakening prices and the market's failure to move on the bullish API report triggered selling, they said.

On Wednesday, IPE December Brent futures settled at $31.32/bbl, down by 36� from the previous close. The day's high was $31.74 and the low $30.88.

On the IPE, the December natural gas contract closed at the equivalent of $3.84/Mcf, up 3�.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of seven crudes stood at $30.49/bbl Wednesday, compared with $30.76/bbl the previous day.

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