Market watch: International energy futures spiral down

Energy futures prices continued their downward spiral in international markets Friday, capping a week of losses in the face of reduced petroleum demand and Iraq's resumption of oil exports.


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, July 16 -- Energy futures prices continued their downward spiral in international markets Friday, capping a week of losses in the face of reduced petroleum demand and Iraq's resumption of oil exports.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, the August contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes lost 21¢ to $26.59/bbl, while the September contract dropped 31¢ to $26.14/bbl. In after-hours electronic trading Monday, those contracts were fetching $26.58/bbl and $26.15/bbl, respectively.

Home heating oil for August delivery dipped by 1.93¢ to 68.74¢/gal. Unleaded gasoline for the same month was down 1.92¢ to 73.41/gal.

The August contract for natural gas fell 17.8¢ to $3.25/Mcf on the NYMEX.

In London, profit taking and a slowdown in buyer interest pushed futures prices for North Sea Brent oil below the $25/bbl level on the International Petroleum Exchange. The August Brent contract lost 17¢ to $24.97/bbl. The August natural gas contract also dipped 2.1¢ to the equivalent of $2.53/Mcf on the IPE.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of seven crudes increased by 9¢ to $23.53/bbl Friday. For the full week, however, the basket price averaged $24.23/bbl, down 4¢ from the previous week.

So far this year, the OPEC basket price has averaged $24.94/bbl, compared to $27.60/bbl in 2000.

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