Market watch: Tuesday prices fall, Wednesday to look upward

Energy prices gave back some of Monday's gains Tuesday, with both crude and refined products prices retreating. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, the January contract for light, sweet crude fell 44¢ to close at $19.65/bbl. The February contract fell 38¢ to close at $20.01/bbl.

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Dec. 5 -- Energy prices gave back some of Monday's gains Tuesday, with both crude and refined products prices retreating.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, the January contract for light, sweet crude fell 44¢ to close at $19.65/bbl. The February contract fell 38¢ to close at $20.01/bbl.

The January contract for home heating oil fell 1.59¢ to close at 54.18¢/gal, while the February contract fell 1.54¢ to close at 55.05¢/gal.

NYMEX gasoline also fell, with the January contract falling 0.99¢ to close at 55.03¢/gal and the February contract falling 0.96¢ to close at 55.99¢/gal.

The January NYMEX contract for natural gas closed at $2.563/Mcf, down 7.1¢. The February contract closed at $2.703/Mcf, down 4.3¢.

After the end of the trading session, the American Petroleum Institute released its weekly inventory report, which estimated that the nation's crude oil stocks rose by 2.02 million bbl during the previous week.

Distillate and gasoline inventories expanded by 2.56 million and 3.78 million bbl, respectively.

Analysts stated that the increase in stocks was in line with the expectations of traders.

Meanwhile, in London Tuesday, North Sea Brent crude oil futures also fell in late afternoon trading on the International Petroleum Exchange , but the move was largely due to profit-taking related selling and futures settled comfortably above the $19/bbl mark.

On the International Petroleum Exchange, the January contract for North Sea Brent crude fell 42¢ to close at $19.29/bbl. The February contract fell 31¢ to close at $19.48/bbl.

Increased hostility between Israel and the Palestinians remained a bullish factor underpinning prices, brokers noted.

However, oil prices began a rally Wednesday on news of a larger Russian export quota cut than expected. Russia declared its intention to cut production by 150,000 b/d rather than the previously announced 50,000 b/d.

On the IPE, the January contract for natural gas fell 1.7¢ to close at the equivalent of $3.77/Mcf.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of seven crudes stood at $18.20/bbl Tuesday, compared with $18.12 the previous day.

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