Market watch: Crude prices slightly higher

Energy futures prices closed higher in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Friday. The April contract for light, sweet crude advanced 22� to settle at $29.04/bbl. The May contract closed at $28.77, up 30�. Refined petroleum products closed firmer, with March home heating oil gaining 0.61� to finish at 74.23�/gal, while unleaded gasoline for the same month put on 2.03� to rest at 84.52�/gal.


By the OGJ Online Staff


HOUSTON, Feb. 26
�Energy futures prices closed higher in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Friday.

The April contract for light, sweet crude advanced 22� to settle at $29.04/bbl. The May contract closed at $28.77, up 30�. In after-hours electronic access trading in New York, light, sweet crude was fetching $29.02/bbl for the April position and $28.72 for the May contract, both down from the NYMEX close.

Refined petroleum products closed firmer, with March home heating oil gaining 0.61� to finish at 74.23�/gal, while unleaded gasoline for the same month put on 2.03� to rest at 84.52�/gal.

Meanwhile, in London Friday, North Sea Brent crude oil futures were little changed at the close of trading on the International Petroleum Exchange.

Futures remained range-bound and below $27/bbl, largely due to an absence of fresh news to give the market clearer direction.

There was also an expectation that inventories would rise sharply in the US this week, which discouraged buying, brokers said.

They said futures appeared set to remain roughly within the $26.30-$26.80/bbl range, seen for most of last week, until fresh news emerged.

On Friday, IPE April Brent futures settled at $26.52/bbl, up by 6� from the previous close. The day's high was $27.05 and the low $26.28.

On the IPE, the March natural gas contract settled at the equivalent of $3.79/Mcf, up 1�.

On the Singapore exchange, North Sea Brent crude edged up 6� to settle at $26.52/bbl. The May contract rose 9� to $26.55.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of seven crudes stood at $24.64/bbl Friday, compared with $24.48 the previous day.

The price of the basket this year to Feb. 22 has averaged $24.74/bbl.

OPEC Pres. Chakib Khelil said at a meeting in Algiers that oil prices are at a very good level and dismissed the need for any rise or cut in OPEC production for the time being, reported the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' news agency.

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