Market watch: Futures prices lower

Energy futures prices weakened in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Friday. The May contract for light, sweet crude fell 54¢ to finish at $27.28/bbl, while the June contract stood at $27.58, down 62¢.


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Apr. 23 -- Energy futures prices weakened in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Friday.

The May contract for light, sweet crude fell 54¢ to finish at $27.28/bbl, while the June contract stood at $27.58, down 62¢.

Refined petroleum products also closed lower, with May home heating oil losing 1.46¢ to rest at 77¢/gal, while unleaded gasoline for the same month declined by 0.76¢ to end at $1.0610/gal.

However, NYMEX natural gas for May delivery advanced by 2.7¢ to rest at $5.128/Mcf.

Analysts said that expectations of a further increase in inventories and slowing demand put pressure on prices. Crude was also affected by the last day of trading in May as the front-month contract.

Signs of a slowing US economy not responding to rate cuts and other incentives furthered the argument that petroleum demand may decline more than expected.

In after-hours electronic access trading in New York, light, sweet crude was fetching $27.20/bbl for the June position, while the July contract was untraded.

On the International Petroleum Exchange in London Friday, North Sea Brent crude oil futures also fell.

Brent for June delivery ended the session 44¢ lower at $26.39/bbl, while the July position declined by 30¢ to $26.58/bbl.

On the IPE, the May natural gas contract closed at the equivalent of $3.43/Mcf, down 4¢.

The price of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of seven crudes stood at $24.49/bbl Friday, compared with $24.95 the previous day.

The average OPEC price rose to $25.27/bbl last week, compared with $24.65 the previous week. So far this year, the basket has averaged $24.36/bbl.

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