Market watch, July 13

Oil futures prices rose on international markets Wednesday when a meeting between the energy ministers of Saudi Arabia and Venezuela produced no new announcements of a proposed production increase, although officials said the issue is still under discussion.


Oil futures prices rose on international markets Wednesday when a meeting between the energy ministers of Saudi Arabia and Venezuela produced no new announcements of a proposed production increase, although officials said the issue is still under discussion.

Lack of news from the Wednesday meeting of Ali Al-Naimi of Saudi Arabia and Ali Rodriguez Araque of Venezuela, who is also conference president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, indicated to some a flagging interest among OPEC members in hiking production.

That perception overrode a report that US inventories of oil and refined products increased last week. That report was issued by the American Petroleum Institute after the market closed Tuesday.

The August contract for a benchmark blend of light, sweet crudes jumped 62� to $30.32/bbl on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The September contract gained 58� to $29.64/bbl.

In after-hours electronic trading, the August contract inched up to $30.37/bbl while the September contract dipped to $29.63/bbl.

The NYMEX board voted Wednesday night to expand electronic trading of crude and petroleum products futures and options by an hour, with operatons from 4 p.m. to 9 a.m. Monday-Friday, and from 7 p.m. Sunday to 9 a.m. Monday. Gas futures and options will be traded 4-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, with no Sunday night session.

They also voted to begin the open outcry session for gas futures and options 15 min earlier at 9:45 a.m.

The August contract for heating oil gained 0.48� to 79.45�/gal on the NYMEX, while unleaded gasoline increased 0.16� to 96.26/gal Wednesday. However, the August contract for natural gas lost 22.6� to $4.03/Mcf.

In London, the August contract for North Sea Brent was up 45� to $29.67/bbl on the International Petroleum Exchange.

Natural gas dipped 3� to the equivalent of $2.78/bbl.

In Singapore, the August contract for Brent crude moved nearer the $30 mark again, settling at $29.67/bbl, up 45� for the day. The September contract rose 43� to $28.59.

The average price for OPEC's basket of seven crudes increased to $28.94/bbl from $28.48/bbl previously.

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