Market watch, Jan. 17

International energy markets were mixed Tuesday, following another statement by Saudi Arabia�s oil minister indicating that members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries had informally decided on a 1.5 million b/d cut in production prior to their formal meeting Wednesday in Vienna.

Jan 17th, 2001


International energy markets were mixed Tuesday, following another statement by Saudi Arabia�s oil minister that indicated members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries had informally decided on a 1.5 million b/d cut in production prior to their formal meeting Wednesday in Vienna.

However, some analysts said that proposed 5% reduction in OPEC output has already been factored into oil futures prices. Any cut less than the anticipated 1.5 million b/d would trigger a price drop as demand abates during the second quarter, they said.

The February contract for benchmark US sweet, light crudes advanced by 24� to $30.29/bbl Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while the March contract lost 26� to $28.50/bbl. In after-hours electronic trading early Wednesday, the February contract had slipped to $30.20/bbl while the March contract was still at $28.50/bbl.

Home heating oil for February delivery dipped 0.1� to 84.11�/gal, while unleaded gasoline for the same month dropped 2.26� to 87.82�/gal on the NYMEX. The February natural gas contract plunged 36.9� to $8.10/Mcf.

In London, the February contract for North Sea Brent crude settled at $26.20/bbl on Tuesday, up 2� for the day on the International Petroleum Exchange, after trading as high as $26.50/bbl and as low as $26.03/bbl. The February natural gas contract dropped 14� to $4.17/Mcf.

On the Singapore exchange, the February contract for Brent crude oil declined 66� to $25.52/bbl, while Brent for March delivery fell $1.03 to $25.04/bbl.

The average price for OPEC�s basket of seven crudes lost 3� to $24.59/bbl on Tuesday.

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