Market watch, July 12

Concerns about refined product supplies helped push up international futures prices on Tuesday.


Concerns about refined product supplies helped push up international futures prices on Tuesday.

The August contract for unleaded gasoline climbed 1.16� to 96.1�/gal on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while home heating oil gained 1.04� to 78.97�/gal.

The August contract for the NYMEX benchmark blend of light, sweet crudes edged up 1� to $29.70/bbl in low-volume, directionless trading Tuesday, with many traders remaining on the sideline pending a meeting today between Ali Al-Naimi, Saudi Arabia's minister of petroleum and mineral resources; and Ali Rodriguez Araque, Venezuela's energy minister and conference president for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

The September oil contract gained 23� to $29.06/bbl on the NYMEX. But both the August and September contracts retreated in after-hours electronic trading, down to $29.55/bbl and $28.90/bbl respectively.

The August contract for natural gas was up 2.9� to $4.26/Mcf.

In London, the latest International Energy Agency report of low inventories of refined products overshadowed the pending meeting of OPEC officials to drive up oil prices. The IEA warned that stocks of refined products, especially gasoline and heating oil are dangerously low. That could trigger price spikes this winter unless inventories are increased, officials said.

The August contract for North Sea Brent climbed 37� to $29.22/bbl on the International Petroleum Exchange. The August contract for natural gas also was up 1� to the equivalent of $2.84/Mcf.

In Singapore, crude oil gained ground despite conflicting market signals. Traders said the industry would see-saw until more news was known. Nevertheless, the August contract for Brent crude was up 37� to close at $29.22/bbl, and September added 15� to settle at $28.16.

The average price for OPEC's basket of seven crudes gained 4� to $28.48/bbl.

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