Market Watch, June 5, 2000

Oil futures contracts continued to gain on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), buoyed by increased US demand for gasoline.


Oil futures contracts continued to gain on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), buoyed by increased US demand for gasoline.

The July contract for the benchmark NYMEX blend of light sweet crudes increased 21� to $30.35/bbl Friday, while the August contract was up 13� to $29.44/bbl. In after-hours electronic trading, the two contracts continued to rise to $30.70/bbl and $29.81/bbl respectively.

In London, the July contract dipped 14� to $29.05/bbl Friday on the International Petroleum Exchange (IPE), although brokers said market fundamentals remain strong.

In Monday trade on the Singapore Exchange, the July contract for North Sea Brent declined 12� to $29.05/bbl while the August contract gained 19� to close at $28.12/bbl.

Brent futures were slightly lower in early afternoon trading on the IPE in London, but largely within the same ranges seen last week, analysts reported.

Some traders worried about recent remarks by Venezuelan Energy Minister Ali Rodriguez Araque that OPEC members may only consider a production increase if crude prices remain above $28/bbl for an extended period.

The average price for the OPEC basket of seven crudes dipped 12� to $28.43/bbl Friday. That price averaged $28.22/bbl last week, up from $27.97/bbl the previous week. So far this year, the OPEC basket price has averaged $25.72/bbl through May. That includes average prices of $26.94/bbl during the month of May, $22.93/bbl in April, and $26.71/bbl in March.

If there are no new developments, brokers said, Brent futures prices are likely to hold firm above $28/bbl, while continuing to test�and occasionally break�the $29/bbl level.

Trade in other energy commodities was mixed Friday. The July contract for unleaded gasoline increased 0.19� to $1.0186/gal on the NYMEX, but home heating oil for the same month lost 0.54� to 75.61�/bbl.

The July contract for natural gas slipped 2.1� to $4.04/Mcf on NYMEX. On the IPE, the July gas contract jumped 3� to the equivalent of $3.01/Mcf.

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