Market watch, Oct. 2

Energy futures prices climbed in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Friday, mostly due to technical factors. Some analysts believed the rally would be short-lived, strangled by promised oil production boosts and the release of strategic reserves.

Energy futures prices climbed in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Friday.

The November NYMEX contract for benchmark light, sweet crude added 50� to settle at $30.84/bbl, while the December contract stood at $30.71, up by 37�.

Refined petroleum products also closed higher in New York, with October home heating oil rising by 1.34� to finish at 92.4�/gal, while unleaded gasoline for the same month improved by 20� to rest at 86.94�.

NYMEX natural gas for November delivery advanced by 6.2� to end at $5.19/Mcf.

The market rebounded on technical factors, after more than a week of straight losses. As short-term technical traders entered the buy orders on technical signals, most analysts believed that the rally would be short-lived.

Bearish factors, including increased oil production from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries member states from the start of October and the announced release of oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve, are still expected to play a major role in the upcoming weeks.

In after-hours electronic access trading in New York today, light, sweet crude was fetching $31.30/bbl for the November position and $31.10 for the December contract, both up from the NYMEX close.

Meanwhile, in London Friday, North Sea Brent crude oil futures also ended higher on the International Petroleum Exchange, following a decision by European Union leaders not to release strategic oil stocks.

They decided that the release of stocks would be an option to be considered in the future, if prices remained persistently high enough to threaten economic growth in their countries.

Brokers said the market had expected Europe to follow the US' lead and release some stocks to bring prices down by several dollars per barrel from the $30/bbl mark.

On Friday, IPE November Brent futures settled at $29.84/bbl, up by 58� from Thursday's close. IPE natural gas settled at the equivalent of $3.48/Mcf, down 0.135�.

October gas oil futures also ended higher on the IPE, at $287.75/tonne, up by $1.50 from the previous settlement.

On the Singapore Exchange, the November contract for North Sea Brent crude oil closed at $30.20/bbl, up by 94�. The December contract added 42� to close at $30.

The price of the OPEC basket of seven crudes stood at $28.46/bbl Friday, compared with $28.08 the previous day.

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