MARKET WATCH: Crude oil, gas prices continue to climb

Prices for crude oil and natural gas continued to advance Apr. 23 for the second consecutive day in the New York market among a mixture of signs around the world of economic recovery.

Sam Fletcher
OGJ Senior Writer

HOUSTON, Apr. 26 -- Prices for crude oil and natural gas continued to advance Apr. 23 for the second consecutive day in the New York market among a mixture of signs around the world of economic recovery.

These include improved corporate earnings, growing demand in China and India, and a 27% jump in US single-family home sales, touching the highest point in 8 months and the biggest monthly increase in 47 years. In New Orleans, analysts at Pritchard Capital Partners LLC said home-sale figures are likely to have been boosted by a looming Apr. 30 deadline for the $8,000 new-home tax credit.

“Durable goods orders rose 2.8% in March, posting their largest gain since 2007. Energy stocks led the rally in the broader markets,” said analysts in the Houston office of Raymond James & Associates Inc.

In other news, Greece's decision to activate European Union and International Monetary Fund financial packages helped the euro rebound from a 1-year low against the US dollar.

Gas prices jumped higher Apr. 23 after Baker Hughes Inc. reported the number of rigs drilling for gas in the US declined for the first time in 17 weeks. Gas and oil prices continued to climb in early trading Apr. 26.

Energy prices
The June contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes escalated by $1.42 to $85.12/bbl Apr. 23 on the New York Mercantile Exchange—“the highest prompt month close since Apr. 15,” said Pritchard Capital Partners. The July contract climbed $1.40 to $87.04/bbl.

On the US spot market, West Texas Intermediate at Cushing, Okla., was up $1.42 to $84.42/bbl, still trying to get in step with the front-month futures contract. Heating oil for May delivery increased 3.55¢ to $2.25/gal on NYMEX. Reformulated blend stock for oxygenate blending for the same month rose 5.29¢ to $2.35/gal.

The May natural gas contract gained 12.9¢ to $4.26/MMbtu on NYMEX. On the US spot market, gas at Henry Hub, La., was up 9¢ to $4.07/MMbtu

In London, the June IPE contract for North Sea Brent crude climbed $1.58 to $87.25/bbl, still at a premium to WTI. Gas oil for May gained $13 to $718.50/tonne.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of 12 reference crudes increased 65¢ to $83.01/bbl. So far this year OPEC’s basket price has averaged $76.81/bbl.

Contact Sam Fletcher at samf@ogjonline.com.

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