Market watch: June 29

Gasoline and natural gas futures prices fell Wednesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, in response to earlier reports of increases in those supplies.


Gasoline and natural gas futures prices fell Wednesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, in response to earlier reports of increases in those supplies.

The July natural gas contract plunged 31.7� to $4.37/Mcf after the American Gas Association reported a rise in gas inventories. That wiped out much of the price hikes in recent weeks that had pushed natural gas to a record high Tuesday on the NYMEX.

The July contact for unleaded gasoline dropped 3.08� to $1.0344/gal because of a report by the American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday that refined products stocks rose by 1.77 million bbl last week to a total 205.44 million bbl. The July contract for home heating oil lost 0.29� to 81.59�/bbl.

Those losses led a price decline in near-term contracts for the NYMEX benchmark blend of light, sweet crudes. The August oil contract dropped 16� to $31.90/bbl, while the September contract was down 23� to $30.65/bbl. In after-hours electronic trading, both contracts continued to decline to $31.79/bbl and $30.63/bbl respectively.

The price of North Sea Brent crude oil slipped on the Singapore exchange today, due to lack of fresh trade news. Traders said the market, in seeking a clearer direction, kept to the sedate tones seen in New York and London Wednesday.

As the day ended, Singapore August Brent fell by 23� to $30.01/bbl, having touched $30.24 on Wednesday. The September position declined by 24� to $29.

But analysts said the effects of OPEC's recent decision to increase production by 708,000 b/d, starting July 1, are slowly becoming apparent.

On the International Petroleum Exchange in London, the August contract for North Sea Brent dipped 13� to $30.11/bbl. But brokers said that market remained stable and firm because of continuing strong fundamentals.

However, the July gas contract continued to slide, down 8� to the equivalent of $2.62/Mcf.

The average price for the OPEC basket of seven crudes lost 28� to $29.58/bbl.

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