Market watch: US oil futures move up

US futures prices for oil and refined products increased Tuesday as traders speculated on when -- not if -- the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will reduce production.

Jul 25th, 2001


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, July 25 -- US futures prices for oil and refined products increased Tuesday as traders speculated on when -- not if -- the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will reduce production.

Some OPEC ministers now say they could cut output by 1-1.5 million b/d without a formal meeting in August (OGJ Online, July 25, 2001).

However, mixed expectations of a pending report on US inventories kept some traders at bay, said analysts.

After the US market closed Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute reported that US oil inventories declined by 712,000 bbl to a total 315.3 million bbl last week. US gasoline stocks also dropped by nearly 2 million bbl to just under 216 million bbl total, API said, while distillate inventories increased by 1.4 million bbl to 120.5 million bbl.

The September contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes gained 19¢ to $26.31/bbl on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while the October oil contract was up 7¢ to $25.90/bbl Tuesday.

Unleaded gasoline for August delivery edged up 0.73¢ to 72.05¢/gal, and home heating oil for the same month increased by 0.38¢ to 68.77¢/gal. However, the August natural gas contract dipped by 0.8¢ to $2.97/Mcf on the NYMEX.

In London, futures prices for North Sea Brent crude were little changed at the close of trading Tuesday on the International Petroleum Exchange. The price seemed to be trying to consolidate around the $25/bbl mark, but the market had no clear direction, said analysts.

The September Brent contract closed at $24.90/bbl Tuesday, down 2¢ for the day after trading in a range of $24.85-$25.08/bbl. The August natural gas contract increased by 2.2¢ to the equivalent of $2.82/Mcf on the IPE.

OPEC's average price for its basket of crudes dropped 4¢ to $23.46/bbl on Tuesday.

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