Market watch, Sept. 7

Energy futures prices continued their strong rise in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Wednesday, despite an American Petroleum Institute report that US crude oil stocks are up. The October contract for benchmark light, sweet crude advanced by $1.07 to finish at $34.90/bbl for October delivery, while the November contract stood at $33.98, up $1.00. October-delivery natural gas ended the day at $5.07/Mcf.


Energy futures prices continued their strong rise in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Wednesday, despite an American Petroleum Institute report that US crude oil stocks are up. The October contract for benchmark light, sweet crude advanced by $1.07 to finish at $34.90/bbl for October delivery, while the November contract stood at $33.98, up by $1.00.

The October price is a new post-Persian Gulf conflict high and was unaffected by news from API that US crude stocks rose by 3.13 million bbl last week.

Crude rose on its own strength as a result of continuing concerns that the expected Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries production increases for the fourth quarter will not be enough to reverse the low stock situation.

Wednesday's activity brought crude to its highest levels in almost a decade as analysts predicted further rises. In after-hours electronic access trading in New York today, NYMEX crude was fetching $35.19/bbl for the October position and $34.05 for the November contract, both up from the NYMEX close.

NYMEX gasoline prices were affected by refinery problems in Texas and California, which resulted in higher rates in the cash market. Refined petroleum products closed higher, with October home heating oil putting on 1.69� to settle at 99.66�/gal, while unleaded gasoline for the same month jumped by 3.09� to rest at 99.80�.

Concerns about natural gas stocks also affected NYMEX gas futures prices. Traders keenly awaited the release of API inventory numbers, which were delayed by a day because of the long holiday weekend in the US.

NYMEX natural gas for October delivery advanced by 12.1� to end at $5.07/Mcf.

Meanwhile, in London Wednesday, North Sea Brent crude oil futures surged to a new 10-year high on the International Petroleum Exchange, again on market doubts about adequate supply for the fourth quarter. October-delivery Brent settled at $34.28/bbl, up $1.30 from Tuesday's close. The day's high was $34.30�a level unseen since November 1990�while the low was $33.03.

September gas oil finished the day at $319.00/tonne, up by $5.25. The day's high was $319, and the low, $315.

Also on the IPE, the October natural gas contract closed at the equivalent of $2.90, up 3�.

On the Singapore Exchange, the October contract for Brent crude oil leaped $1.30 to close at $34.28/bbl, and the November position gained $1.04 to close at $33.34.

The OPEC basket of seven crudes stood at $33.57/bbl Wednesday, compared with $32.50 the previous day.

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