Market Watch, May 19

Energy futures prices soared in trading Thursday, with crude for June delivery topping $30/bbl on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Analysts believe the market is continuing to react to indications that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries won't implement another output increase at their June ministerial meeting.


Energy futures prices soared in trading Thursday, with crude for June delivery topping $30/bbl on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

June-delivery NYMEX crude rose $1.01/bbl on the day to settle at $30.33/bbl, while the July contract ended at $30.22, up 78�. Refined products also ended higher, with June heating oil rising 2.51�/gal to settle at 79.87�/gal, and unleaded gasoline closing at 99.03�/gal, up 1.05�.

Meanwhile, NYMEX natural gas futures climbed 2.1� Thursday, closing at an impressive $3.71/MMbtu.

Analysts believe the market is continuing to react to indications that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries won't implement another output increase at their June ministerial meeting.

US Energy Sec. Bill Richardson stopped short of supporting a production increase when he said the US would have its position ready on the level of output needed by mid-June, before the OPEC meeting in Vienna. Speaking after meeting with his Mexican counterpart, Luis Tellez, Richardson noted that Mexico supports price stability. However, he reportedly did not request a production increase by Mexico in the talks.

In London trading Thursday, Brent crude futures also rallied strongly on the International Petroleum Exchange. July Brent settled at $28.92/bbl, up $1.03 from the previous close. The day's high was $28.95 and the low, $28.00.

Brokers said the dip in prices earlier in the week in response to a bearish US oil stocks report had been overshadowed by strong demand for physical crude and products.

June gas oil settled at $231.50/tonne on the IPE, up $5.00 from Wednesday's closing price.

The price of the OPEC basket of seven crudes stood at $28.48/bbl Thursday, compared with $27.72 the previous day, according to the OPEC Secretariat.

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