Market Watch: June 9

Unconfirmed speculation that Saudi Arabia may favor a production increase triggered a retreat in oil futures prices on international markets Thursday.


Unconfirmed speculation that Saudi Arabia may favor a production increase triggered a retreat in oil futures prices on international markets Thursday.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the July contract for the benchmark blend of sweet, light crudes dipped 17� to $29.78/bbl. The August contract lost 20� to $29.08/bbl. In after-hours electronic trading, the August contract continued its slide to $28.98/bbl, while the July contract held at $29.78/bbl.

In London, the July contract for North Sea Brent closed at $29.09/bbl, down 13� for the day on the International Petroleum Exchange (IPE). Prices in that market have hovered around $29/bbl for the last few days, despite speculation about what action OPEC ministers may take at their June 21 meeting in Vienna. Traders say they expect some increase, but not enough to alter the price balance dramatically.

The average price for OPEC's basket of seven crudes dipped 7� to $28.37/bbl Thursday.

On the NYMEX, home heating oil lost 0.74� to 74.17�/gal, while unleaded gasoline dipped 0.09� to $1.0097/gal.

However, the July contract for natural gas was up 18.8� to $4.13/Mcf. On the IPE, the July gas contract lost 14� to the equivalent of $2.91/Mcf.

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