Market watch, Dec. 8

Oil futures prices weakened Thursday in the face of increased supplies. Natural gas for January delivery backed off 11.2� to $8.37/Mcf as more electric utilities indicated a switch to heating oil. The recent phenomenal spike in gas prices has made that alternative more economic for dual-fuel power plants.


Energy futures prices weakened Thursday in the face of increased supplies and competitive pricing of heating oil against natural gas, said analysts.

The January contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes dipped 50� to $29.35/bbl on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while the February contract lost 30� to $29.01/bbl.

Those contracts continued to slide in after-hours electronic trading, down to $29.04/bbl and $28.70/bbl, respectively.

The January contract for home heating oil lost 1.89� to 99.29�/gal, while unleaded gasoline for the same month was down 1.54� to 76.67�/gal.

Natural gas for January delivery backed off 11.2� to $8.37/Mcf as more and more electric utilities indicated they were switching to heating oil. The recent spike in gas prices has made the fuel more economic for dual-fuel power plants, analysts reported.

In London, the January contract for North Sea Brent crude declined by 54� to $27.47/bbl on the International Petroleum Exchange. Brokers said they expect that market to stabilize around $26-27/bbl, barring any new bearish indicators.

The January natural gas contract lost 13� to the equivalent of $4.19/Mcf on the IPE.

On the Singapore exchange, the January contract for North Sea Brent crude ended 54� lower at $27.47/bbl�down $4.41 from Monday.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of seven crudes gained 31� to $26.20/bbl Thursday.

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