Market watch: Oil futures prices fall in international markets

Oil futures prices fell in international markets Monday, amid expectations of an increase in US oil inventories and no production cut by members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.


By the OGJ Online Staff


HOUSTON, Feb. 27
�Oil futures prices fell in international markets Monday, amid expectations of an increase in US oil inventories and no production cut by members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Analysts blamed the decline on remarks by OPEC Sec. Gen. Al�odr�ez Araque that the organization's members might not agree to another rollback of production at their March meeting. But for some weeks now, market participants generally have agreed that production cuts are unlikely.

Moreover, a more bearish report on US inventories by the American Petroleum Institute is expected after the close of US markets today. Last week, the API reported a near-record decline of 12 million bbl in US oil inventories because fog had prevented unloading of oil imports along the Gulf Coast. But that problem has since been resolved, officials said, and inventories are expected to have increased.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, the April contract for benchmark US light, sweet crude lost 62� to $28.42/bbl Monday, while the May contract fell 52� to $28.25/bbl. Both continued to decline in after-hours electronic trading to $28.12/bbl and $28/bbl, respectively.

Unleaded gasoline for March delivery dipped by 0.52� to 84�/gal, but home heating oil for the same month increased 0.47� to 74.7�/gal. The March contract for natural gas lost 13.3� to $5/Mcf.

In London, future contracts for North Sea Brent crude fell through support at $26.50/bbl on the International Petroleum Exchange. Brokers said the new support at $26/bbl probably can be as easily broken, if only temporarily.

The April Brent contract lost 41� to $26.11/bbl Monday, while the March natural gas contract declined 8� to the equivalent of $3.71/Mcf.

On the Singapore exchange, Brent crude for April delivery fell 41� to $26.11/bbl. The May contract fell 37� to $26.18/bbl.

The average price for OPEC�s basket of seven crudes lost 22� to $24.42/bbl.

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