Market watch, Feb. 1

Energy futures weakened Wednesday on international markets, dragged down by a drop in petroleum products prices in the last day of trading February contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Feb 1st, 2001


Energy futures weakened Wednesday on international markets, dragged down by a drop in petroleum products prices in the last day of trading February contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

That market also was influenced by the American Petroleum Institute�s report late Tuesday that US gasoline stocks increased by 6.64 million bbl last week to 206.74 bbl.

Officials reported US demand for gasoline declined to just under 7 million b/d, the lowest level since early 1997. That indicates the impact of a US economic slowdown on energy markets, some analysts claim.

The February contract for unleaded gasoline led the retreat of energy futures on the NYMEX, losing 2.07� to 82.62�/gal.

API also reported US distillate stocks, including the all-important home heating oil, declined by 425,000 bbl to 113.71 million bbl last week. That puts home heating oil stocks 1.81 million bbl above levels at the same time last year and effectively eliminated concerns of possible shortages during the current winter, said analysts.

As a result, home heating oil for February delivery fell 1.99� to 75.96�/gal.

Market declines among petroleum products helped pull down crude futures, despite API�s bullish assessment that US oil stocks were down by 5.63 million bbl to 282.81 million bbl last week. The March contract for benchmark US sweet, light crude was down 40� to $28.66/bbl on the NYMEX, while the April oil contract dipped 29� to $27.96/bbl.

Natural gas for March delivery fell 39� to $5.71/Mcf.

In London, the March contract for North Sea Brent oil gave up 23� to $26.66/bbl on the International Petroleum Exchange. The March natural gas contract was down 4� to the equivalent of $3.84/Mcf on the IPE.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries� basket of seven crudes gained 10� to $24.66/bbl Wednesday.

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