Market watch, Sept. 6

Energy futures prices rose again in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Tuesday. The October contract for benchmark light, sweet crude oil put on 45� to settle at $33.83/bbl, while the November contract stood at $32.98, up by 56�.


Energy futures prices rose again in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Tuesday. The October contract for benchmark light, sweet crude oil put on 45� to settle at $33.83/bbl, while the November contract stood at $32.98, up by 56�.

Refined petroleum products also closed higher, with October home heating oil rising by 0.33� to finish at 97.97�/gal, while unleaded gasoline for the same month improved by 0.86� to rest at 96.71�/gal.

The market continued its bullish trend, based on perceptions that the expected increase in production from OPEC in the fourth quarter would not be enough to dampen prices.

It is widely believed that this Sunday's OPEC meeting will result in a 500,000-700,000 b/d increase in output. However, analysts stated that, given the very tight stocks situation in the United States, this level of production increase would not help much in bringing down prices.

NYMEX natural gas, meanwhile, posted a significant price increase in the light of the domestic inventory situation as well. NYMEX gas for October delivery jumped by 11.5� to end at $4.95/Mcf, as US gas stocks are also very low, and the situation is expected to worsen in the winter months.

In after-hours electronic access trading in New York today, light, sweet crude was fetching $33.97/bbl for the October position and $33.15 for the November contract, both up from the NYMEX close.

Meanwhile, in London Tuesday, North Sea Brent crude oil futures surged to $33.00/bbl on the International Petroleum Exchange, again on fears that OPEC would not be able to boost production sufficiently to calm the overheated futures market. IPE October Brent futures eventually settled at $32.98/bbl, up by 14� from the previous close. The day's low was $32.38.

IPE gas oil prices slipped a bit but remained high in the wake of a TotalFinaElf SA refinery fire in France and the strikes that are blockading many product shipments there (OGJ Online, Sept. 5, 2000). The September contract closed at $313.75/tonne, down from a Monday close of $317.25/tonne.

The OPEC basket of seven crudes stood at $32.50/bbl Tuesday, compared with $32.13 the previous day.

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