Market watch, Dec. 6

Oil prices tumbled on the New York Mercantile Exchange Tuesday, on speculation that Iraq's oil export stoppage may soon be relieved. Other prices were mostly down due to several factors. An American Petroleum Institute report showing increases in distillate stocks allayed predictions of continuing cold weather in the US.


Oil prices tumbled on the New York Mercantile Exchange Tuesday on speculation that Iraq's oil export stoppage may soon be relieved.

Other prices were mostly down due to several factors. An American Petroleum Institute report showing increases in distillate stocks allayed predictions of continuing cold weather in the US.

The January contract for NYMEX light, sweet crude fell $1.69/bbl to $29.53, falling below the $30/bbl mark for the first time in months. The February contract fell $1.44 to $29.03.

Natural gas was off slightly from Monday's record close of $7.43/Mcf, due in part to continuing predictions of cold weather in the US. The January NYMEX contract fell 4.9� to $7.384/Mcf, while the February contract fell 9.3� to $7.010.

An API report said distillate stocks climbed 3.3 million bbl last week. The report led product prices downward despite cold weather in the US. The January NYMEX contract for No. 2 heating oil fell 3.18� to $0.9766/gal, and the February contract fell 2.37� to $0.9220. Unleaded gasoline fell 3.98� to close at $0.7622/gal for January delivery.

On the International Petroleum Exchange in London, the January contract for North Sea Brent crude fell $1.55 to $27.79/bbl. The February contract fell $1.08 to $27.77/bbl.

Also on the IPE, the January natural gas contract fell the equivalent of 16� to $4.35/Mcf.

IPE gasoil for December delivery closed at $282.25/tonne, down $11.

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