Market Watch: July 14

Energy futures rose in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday. NYMEX crude for August delivery climbed $1.15/bbl to end the day at $31.47/bbl, while the September contract stood at $30.41/bbl, up 77�. Refined products also registered gains, with August home heating oil settling at 81.61�/gal, up 2.16�, and unleaded gasoline rising 0.98� to close at 97.24�/gal.


Energy futures rose in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday. NYMEX crude for August delivery climbed $1.15/bbl to end the day at $31.47/bbl, while the September contract stood at $30.41/bbl, up 77�. Refined products also registered gains, with August home heating oil settling at 81.61�/gal, up 2.16�, and unleaded gasoline rising 0.98� to close at 97.24�/gal.

NYMEX natural gas, meanwhile, advanced 13.50�/MMbtu to end the day at $4.17.

In London trading Thursday, Brent for August delivery topped the $30/bbl mark on the International Petroleum Exchange. The benchmark blend settled at $30.26, up 59�/bbl.

The August IPE natural gas contract was unchanged at the equivalent of $2.76/Mcf.

The increase in oil prices was attributed to confusion among Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries members about the group's next move.

OPEC Sec. Gen. Rilwanu Lukman proposed an unscheduled meeting of members in Vienna July 18 to discuss Saudi Arabia's recent unilateral pledge to increase production by 500,000 b/d. But officials at the Vienna headquarters told Reuters this morning that they had not yet been instructed to prepare for an emergency meeting.

The OPEC basket of crudes was fetching $29.38 Thursday, vs. $28.94 the previous day, says the OPEC Secretariat. The price remains above the $28/bbl limit OPEC set at its last ministerial meeting, indicating that a further production increase is warranted.

In separate statements to the press this week, a number of OPEC ministers�including Venezuela's Al�odr�ez, Qatar's Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, and the UAE's Obaid bin Saif al-Nasseri�pledged their commitment to achieving stability in oil prices. Rodr�ez is visiting the Qatar and UAE ministers this week in preparation for a September OPEC heads of state summit in Caracas.

After his talks with Rodr�ez, Al-Nasseri said the UAE "is prepared to participate in any [production] increase to be decided by OPEC." However, he stressed that any decision on an oil output rise should be taken as a result of consensus among OPEC countries.

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