MARKET WATCH: NYMEX oil prices fluctuate before inventory reports

Light, sweet crude oil prices gained modestly in trading on the New York market Feb. 26 with prices approaching $64/bbl, but prices were falling in early trading Feb. 27 on what analysts called concerns about rising US oil inventories and rising US oil production.

Light, sweet crude oil prices gained modestly in trading on the New York market Feb. 26 with prices approaching $64/bbl, but prices were falling in early trading Feb. 27 on what analysts called concerns about rising US oil inventories and rising US oil production.

Price had been supported by an unexpected decline in US crude stockpiles for the week ended Feb 16, but market observers said the next inventory reports are expected to show increases again.

The American Petroleum Institute is scheduled to release weekly data on US inventory levels later Feb. 27. Analysts expect API will report oil supplies rose by about 2 million bbl for the week ended Feb. 23.

The US Energy Information Administration releases its weekly inventory of crude oil and products on Feb. 28.

Meanwhile, market participants awaited congressional testimony later Feb. 27 from new Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for any suggestions about the Feds raising interest rates at a faster pace than expected.

Jan Edelmann, HSH Nordbank AG analyst, told the Wall Street Journal that the US dollar might take “immediate cues—and could likely impact the direction of the oil price—from Powell’s views on fiscal reform.”

Oil is traded in dollars, and a weaker dollar makes oil less expensive for buyers starting out with other currencies.

Energy prices

The April light, sweet crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 36¢ on Feb. 26 to settle at $63.91/bbl. The May contract gained 36¢ to $63.77/bbl.

The NYMEX natural gas price for March edged up more than 1¢ to a rounded $2.64/MMbtu. The Henry Hub cash gas price was up 4¢ to $2.59/MMbtu on Feb. 26.

Ultralow-sulfur diesel for March increased by a rounded 2¢ to a rounded $1.99/gal. The NYMEX reformulated gasoline blendstock for March gained nearly 2¢ to a rounded $1.83/gal.

Brent crude oil for April settled up 19¢ to $67.50/bbl on London’s International Commodity Exchange. The May contract was up 25¢ to $67.29/bbl. The gas oil contract for March was $599/tonne, up $8.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of crudes was $65.18/bbl on Feb. 26, up $1.04.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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