Market watch: Futures markets flounder

International energy futures prices continued to slump Thursday with reports that the head of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries opposes additional production cuts in March.


By the OGJ Online Staff


HOUSTON, Feb. 16�International energy futures prices continued to slump Thursday with reports that the head of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries opposes additional production cuts in March.

Instead, Chakib Khelil, Algeria�s Minister of Energy and Mines and OPEC president, this week urged producers and consumers to cooperate to ensure a stable market.

The March contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes dropped 91� to $28.80/bbl Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while the April contract lost 88� to $28.71/bbl.

Unleaded gasoline for March delivery fell 2.56� to 85.42�/gal, and home heating oil for the same month was down 1.42� to 75.69�/gal on the NYMEX.

The March natural gas contract showed a slight gain, however, up 7.6� to $5.594/Mcf.

In London, North Sea Brent crude broke through support at $27/bbl in late trading Thursday, triggering technical trading. The April Brent contract closed at $26.64/bbl, down 64� for the day after trading at $26.35-$27.18/bbl.

That market will likely try to stabilize around $26.50/bbl, analysts said.

Also on the IPE, gas fell 2.5� to the equivalent of $3.77/Mcf.

The average price for OPEC�s basket of seven crudes declined by 91� to $24.83/bbl on Thursday.

More in Economics & Markets