Market watch: Energy futures slip downward

Energy futures prices generally weakened in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Friday. The June contract for light, sweet crude, the American benchmark, slipped 9¢ to finish at $28.36/bbl. The July contract stood at $28.96/bbl, down 3¢.


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, May 7 -- Energy futures prices generally weakened in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Friday.

The June contract for light, sweet crude, the American benchmark, slipped 9¢ to finish at $28.36/bbl. The July contract stood at $28.96/bbl, down 3¢.

In after-hours electronic access trading, light, sweet crude was fetching $28.36/bbl for the June position and $28.91 for the July contract.

Refined petroleum products closed mixed, with June home heating oil slipping by 0.01¢ to rest at 76.57¢/gal, while unleaded gasoline for the same month rose by 1.32¢ to settle at $1.0843/gal.

NYMEX natural gas for June delivery pulled back by 3.7¢ to end at $4.49/Mcf.

Gasoline was reacting to alarming remarks by US Energy Sec. Spencer Abraham, who stated that prices might beat last year's records during the coming summer.

His remarks came soon after the market had beaten down gasoline futures in response to a bearish inventory report last Tuesday. Analysts said that, apparently, the US energy secretary was trying to prevent huge swings in market prices.

However, the rest of the market remained unconcerned by the events, apparently believing the rally in gasoline may be short-lived.

Meanwhile, in London Friday, North Sea Brent crude oil futures improved on the International Petroleum Exchange.

IPE June Brent futures settled at $28.19/bbl, up by 12¢ from the previous close, while the July position put on 8¢ to finish the session at 28.21/bbl.

On the IPE, the June natural gas contract settled at equivalent of $3.36/Mcf, up 1¢.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of seven crudes stood at $25.69/bbl Friday, compared with $25.84 the previous day.

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