Crude Oil Price: $101.45
WTI Falls for Third Day as U.S. Crude Stockpiles Gain
West Texas Intermediate declined for a third day after U.S. crude inventories increased while tension in Ukraine continued to ease. Brent was little changed.
Futures dropped as much as 0.9 percent in New York to their lowest intraday level since Feb. 18. Crude stockpiles gained for a seventh week while supplies at Cushing in Oklahoma, the delivery point for WTI contracts, slid to the lowest level in two years with the opening of a new pipeline. European Union leaders quarreled over how to tame Russia after its military moves in Ukraine.
“Crude has been falling since Monday as the geo-political risk drops off,” Thina Saltvedt, an analyst at Oslo-based Nordea Markets, said by phone. “The Ukraine risk premium has disappeared for now as we are at least getting dialogue between Russia and the West.”
WTI for April delivery dropped as much as 89 cents to $100.56 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $100.67 as of 1:25 p.m. London time. The contract lost $1.88 to $101.45 yesterday, the biggest drop in two months. The volume of all futures traded was about 36 percent more than the 100-day average.
Brent for April settlement was down 30 cents at $107.46 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $6.80 to WTI on ICE. The spread ended yesterday’s session at $6.31, widening for the first time in seven days.
A summit in Brussels today started with eastern European countries calling for a tough line on the Kremlin and western countries offering Russia more time to pull back its forces in Crimea before imposing sanctions.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met in Paris in their first face-to-face encounter since Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych fled his country during last month’s popular uprising.
The International Energy Agency said it’s “constantly monitoring” oil and gas markets amid the crisis in Ukraine and that the current situation doesn’t call for an IEA response.
WTI has slid 1.5 percent this week, poised for the first decline in eight weeks as U.S. crude supplies climbed to the highest level since December.
Distillate stockpiles increased by 1.41 million barrels in the seven days through Feb. 28, said the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm. They were projected to decline by 1 million barrels, according to the median estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
“The drop in the price has been magnified amid growing U.S. inventories and decreasing geopolitical risks,” said Hong Sung Ki, a commodities analyst at Samsung Futures Inc. in Seoul.
Stockpiles at Cushing, the nation’s largest oil-storage center, slid by 2.66 million barrels to 32.1 million, the EIA reported. TransCanada Corp. began moving crude from the hub to the Texas Gulf Coast in January via the southern portion of its Keystone XL pipeline.
WTI is extending losses after breaching technical support, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Futures yesterday settled outside the lower boundary of an upward-sloping trend channel going back to mid-January. Investors typically sell contracts when chart support fails.
Crude Oil Price: $102.59
Brent Oil Premium to WTI Declines to Least Since October
Futures slipped 0.5 percent in London, following declines in European equities as gunmen occupied government buildings in Ukraine’s Crimea region and Russia put fighter planes on alert. WTI’s losses were limited after U.S. government data yesterday showed crude supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma, the contract’s delivery point, declined to a four-month low.
“The unsettled situation in the Ukraine is having an impact on markets,” said Bob Yawger, director of the futures division at Mizuho Securities USA Inc. in New York. “Given the country’s location, it’s obviously going to have a bigger impact on Brent than WTI. The spread between Brent and WTI is also being brought in by the Cushing draw.”
Brent for April delivery dropped 56 cents to end the session at $108.96 a barrel on the ICE FuturesEurope exchange, the lowest settlement since Feb. 13. The volume of all futures traded was about 16 percent more than the 100-day average at 2:19 p.m. in New York.
WTI for April delivery slipped 19 cents to settle at $102.40 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Trading was 16 percent below the 100-day average.
The European benchmark crude’s premium to WTI narrowed to $6.56, the smallest gap since October based on futures settlement prices.
The crisis in Crimea risks further stoking political tensions within Ukraine and gives Russia a potential excuse to interfere in a country still reeling from an uprising. Unkraine’s interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is seeking $35 billion in aid from Western lenders.
European stocks declined for a second day as tension escalated in Crimea. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.2 percent to 337.21 at the close of trading.
“There’s a general risk-off tone in Europe as tensions rise in Crimea,” said Addison Armstrong, director of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “We’re going to see more fun and games with the spread.”
WTI is set for a monthly advance as winter storms bolstered U.S. heating-fuel use and Cushing stockpiles fell with the opening of a new pipeline.
Cushing inventories at the hub decreased by 1.08 million barrels to 34.8 million last week, the Energy Information Administration reported yesterday.
TransCanada Corp. (TRP) began moving crude in January to the Texas Gulf Coast from the hub via the southern portion of its Keystone XL pipeline.
Nationwide crude stockpiles rose 68,000 barrels to 362.4 million in seven days ended Feb. 21, the sixth straight gain, according to the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm.
“It looks like we will consolidate for a bit before either moving another leg up, or retreating $2 or $3,” said Bill O’Grady, chief market strategist at Confluence Investment Management in St. Louis, which oversees $1.4 billion. “I’m leaning toward the latter because we’re in a period of seasonally low demand.”
Refiners often idle units at the start of the year after preparing for the heating season in November and December. Operating rates increase in spring as the peak-demand gasoline season approaches.Refinery utilization rates have dropped during the first quarter in eight of the past 10 years, according to EIA data.
WTI fell less than Brent as U.S. stocks rose, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index above its record close. Orders for U.S. durable goods excluding the volatile transportation category unexpectedly climbed in January by the most in eight months, according to the Commerce Department.
“We have better-than-expected durable goods orders,” said Bill Baruch, a senior market strategist at Iitrader.com in Chicago. “The market has support around the $100 area.”
Implied volatility for at-the-money WTI options expiring in April was 17.4 percent, up from 16.9 percent yesterday, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.
Electronic trading volume on the Nymex was 382,766 contracts at 3:20 p.m. It totaled 424,444 contracts yesterday, 15 percent below the three-month average. Open interest was 1.65 million contracts, the highest level since Dec. 13.
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Crude Oil Price: $103.31
Oil Below $103 As Chinese Factory Activity Drops
The price of oil slipped below $103 a barrel Thursday after a report indicated that manufacturing in China, the world’s second-biggest economy, shrank again in February.
U.S. crude for March delivery fell 39 cents to close at $102.92 a barrel in New York on the last day of trading for the contract. Crude for April delivery fell 9 cents to close at $102.75.
Oil prices fell after a monthly survey by HSBC found that China’s manufacturing, a driver of the global economy, contracted for a second straight month.
The HSBC purchasing managers’ index also declined to the lowest since July, a sign of the extended slowdown in China as leaders in Beijing try to clamp down on an investment boom and refocus the economy on domestic consumption.
“Results from this private sector survey have deteriorated for four months now, which indicates an unambiguous trend of domestic growth deceleration,” Societe Generale economist Wei Yao said in a report.
Uncertainty about protests in Venezuela, a major U.S. oil supplier, as well as export disruptions in Libya and South Sudan kept a floor under oil prices.
Prices were also steadied by a weekly report from the U.S. Energy Department released Thursday that revealed that oil stockpiles grew about half as fast as expected, according to analysts surveyed by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil used by many U.S. refineries, fell 17 cents to close at $110.30 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
U.S. retail gasoline prices continued their seasonal climb as refineries cut back output to perform maintenance and prepare for a switch to more expensive summer gasoline. The average retail price rose less than a penny to $3.38 per gallon. That’s the highest level of the year and 10 cents higher than last month.
The price of natural gas fell 1.4 percent to close at $6.06 per 1,000 cubic feet, retreating somewhat after Wednesday’s 11 percent surge to $6.15, its highest level since December of 2008.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
- Wholesale gasoline rose 2.2 cents to close at $2.847 a gallon.
- Heating oil rose 3.1 cent to close at $3.178 a gallon.
Crude Oil Price: $100.37
Oil Dips; Natural Gas Soars On Supply Report
The price of oil barely budged Thursday. But natural gas futures soared and U.S. drivers again saw higher numbers at the gas pump.
Benchmark U.S. crude for March delivery slipped 2 cents to $100.37 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. U.S. economic indicators were mostly downbeat on Thursday, suggesting weak demand. A report from the International Energy Agency gave oil some support. The agency raised slightly its 2014 forecast for global demand to 92.6 million barrels a day, 125,000 barrels a day above its previous expectations from a month ago.
Natural gas futures jumped 40 cents, or 8 percent, to $5.22 per 1,000 cubic feet. The Energy Department said supplies fell by 237 billion cubic feet last week, more than the 230 billion cubic feet decline predicted by analysts.
Meanwhile, U.S. drivers are paying 6 cents more per gallon on average than a week ago. The nationwide average climbed 1 penny Thursday to $3.33 a gallon.
Brent crude, which is used to set prices for international varieties of crude, fell 6 cents to $108.73 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
Crude Oil Price: $97.19
WTI Crude Pares Gain on Receding Cold Temperatures
West Texas Intermediate crude pared gains on speculation that milder weather will reduce consumption of heating oil and boost inventories of distillate fuel.
Prices were little changed after rising as much as 1.5 percent. Cold temperatures in the Midwest and East will wane heading into mid-February, MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland, forecast. Ultra low sulfur diesel, a proxy for heating oil, reversed a rally. Demand for distillate, including heating oil and diesel, fell last week for the first time since Jan. 3.
“There’s a growing realization that as we move into the later part of the month, the weather will probably moderate and demand for distillate fuel will drop,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy. “Prices have been supported by the weather. The weather can only provide so much of a boost.”
WTI for March delivery rose 17 cents, to $97.55 a barrel at 2:02 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The volume of all futures traded was 2.9 percent above the 100-day average.
Brent for March settlement gained 59 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $106.84 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Volume of all futures traded was 2 percent below the 100-day average. The European crude was at a premium of $9.29 to WTI on the ICE exchange. The spread closed at $8.87 yesterday.
Ultra low sulfur diesel futures for March delivery, slid 0.55 cent to $2.9913 a gallon. Volume was 10 percent above the 100-day average.
To contact the reporters on this story: Moming Zhou in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org; Mark Shenk in New York at email@example.com
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Crude Oil Price: $98.23
Oil Above $98 As US Economy Shows Strength
NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil closed above $98 a barrel for the first time in a month Thursday, as signs of a strengthening U.S. economy prompted expectations of greater demand for oil.
Benchmark U.S. crude for March gained 87 cents to finish the day at $98.23 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Expectations are rising that the 2014 U.S. economy will be the best since the recession ended 4½ years ago. The government said Thursday that growth reached a 3.2 percent annual rate last quarter on the strength of the strongest consumer spending in three years.
The GDP numbers “were enough above expectations to conjure up ideas of additional petroleum demand improvement,” wrote Jim Ritterbusch, president of energy consultancy Ritterbusch and Associates, in a note to clients.
There has already been plenty of demand for heating oil this winter, thanks to frigid temperatures in the Northeast and other regions. Heating oil futures rose 4 cents to $3.22 a gallon, and have gained 28 cents, or 10 percent, since Jan. 14.
Supplies of distillate fuels, including heating oil, declined sharply last week as the U.S. Northeast shivered through a cold spell. The Energy Department said Wednesday that distillate supplies dropped by 4.6 million barrels, twice what analysts expected. The surge in demand dropped distillate supplies to around 22 percent below five-year averages.
Natural gas prices fell sharply after rising a day earlier to prices last seen four years ago. Forecasts for milder temperatures drove the decline. Futures fell 45 cents, or 8 percent, to $5.01 per 1,000 cubic feet.
On the roads, drivers in the U.S. paid an average of $3.28 per gallon. That’s down 1 cent from a week ago and 11 cents cheaper than this time last year, when prices were beginning a run-up that ended near $3.80 a gallon at the end of February.
Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of crude, rose 10 cents to $107.95 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading in New York:
Wholesale gasoline was flat at $2.66 a gallon.
Crude Oil Price: $96.73
Oil Rises For 4th Straight Day
The price of oil rose for the fourth day in a row Thursday, to above $97 per barrel, as an ongoing cold spell in parts of the U.S. boosted demand for heating oil.
U.S. crude for March delivery rose 59 cents to close at $97.32 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil used by many U.S. refineries, fell 69 cents to close at $107.58 in London.
Natural gas futures rose again, adding 4 cents to close at $4.73 per 1,000 cubic feet, as temperatures in many parts of the U.S. Northeast remained in the single digits and forecasts called for continued cold over the next week, boosting anticipated heating demand. Natural gas futures are up 18 percent over the past two weeks, to their highest level since July of 2011.
The deep chill blanketing much of the central and eastern U.S. is also reducing stocks of heating oil as homeowners crank up the thermostat and electric utilities burn it to avoid paying for natural gas. Natural gas has skyrocketed to record prices of more than $100 per 1,000 cubic feet on the spot market in some regions.
That, in turn is leading to higher crude prices as traders anticipate that refineries will need to process more crude to meet heating oil demand.
“The weather factor is becoming an increasingly important driver,” wrote energy analyst Jim Ritterbusch in a report Thursday.
At the pump, the average retail price of a gallon of gasoline rose less than a penny Thursday to $3.29 per gallon, according to AAA, OPIS and Wright Express. That’s 3 cents higher than a month ago, but 3 cents lower than at this time last year.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
- Wholesale gasoline fell 1.5 cents to close at $2.662 a gallon.
- Heating oil rose 1 cent to close at $2.991 a gallon.
See more at: http://www.rigzone.com/news/oil_gas/a/131246/Oil_Rises_For_4th_Straight_Day#sthash.Io60g7Ji.dpuf
Crude Oil Price: $93.96
Oil Down Slightly As Libya, Iran Supply Expectations Weigh
NEW YORK, Jan 16 (Reuters) – Crude oil futures ended slightly lower in thin trade on Thursday as expectations of more supply from the Middle East and North Africa weighed against news of lower oil output from OPEC.
U.S. crude oil futures traded marginally lower over the day, and settled down for the second time this week. However, losses were capped by data showing a drop in jobless claims and a rise in consumer prices to their highest in six months in the world’s largest oil consumer.
Brent largely held steady between an expected increase in supply from Libya and Iran and OPEC cuts.
“The overall trading range in Brent has been a narrow range” due to mitigating geopolitical factors, said Dominick Chirichella, a partner at Energy Management Institute.
Brent crude for February delivery expired down 4 cents at $107.09 a barrel, after settling 74 cents higher on Wednesday. Brent March crude oil, which becomes the front month on Friday, settled down 52 cents at $105.75 a barrel.
Losses in Brent were capped by an analyst’s report that seaborne oil exports from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, excluding Angola and Ecuador, will fall by 660,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) in the four weeks to Feb. 1.
U.S. crude settled down 21 cents at $93.96 a barrel, after ending $1.58 higher on Wednesday. The February contract expires on Tuesday, after the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday. Floor trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange is shut on Monday and settlement prices will not be posted.
The spread between the two oil benchmarks <CL-LCO1=R> narrowed to $12.35, the smallest gap in nearly two weeks, before widening at settle at $13.13.
Analysts said West Texas Intermediate’s (WTI) recent strength against Brent is likely temporary.
“I’ll trust that strength a lot more if I can see gasoline regain losses,” said Walter Zimmermann, chief technical analyst for United-ICAP.
TransCanada announced the southern leg of its 700,000 barrel per day Keystone XL pipeline will only run at less than half capacity bpd when it begins service, expected on Jan. 22.
Traders anticipate the pipeline would play a role in easing a supply glut of WTI crude in Cushing, Oklahoma, where the contract is priced, and narrow its discount to Brent.
Heating oil futures pared gains to settle 0.2 percent higher at $2.9845 per gallon from a midmorning high of close to $3. Gains were capped as gas oil stocks at Europe’s Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp hub rose 5.8 percent this week, indicating less of a need for U.S. fuel exports.
OPEC lowered its oil output further and is pumping less than this year’s global need for its crude. OPEC pumps a third of the world’s oil, but analysts said a drop in production is not enough to sway U.S. domestic crude oil markets.
OPEC’s forecast could get a boost if negotiations between Iran and world powers, due to start in February, end a dispute over the Islamic republic’s nuclear program and result in easing sanctions that are blocking up to 1.2 bpd of its oil exports.
A resolution could mean a glut of supply as Iranian oil comes online, though Iran’s foreign minister said he expected other OPEC producers to reduce production to make room for rising Iranian oil supplies.
Libya’s southern El Sharara oilfield resumed production last week, increasing supply from the North African producer by more than 300,000 bpd. Output would rise even further if a blockade of Libya’s eastern oil ports were to end.
(Additional reporting by Christopher Johnson in London and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen in Singapore; Editing by Anthony Barker, Jane Baird, Peter Galloway and David Gregorio)
Crude Oil Price: $93.67
Oil Falls To 8-Month Low; Natural Gas Drops 5%
NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil closed at the lowest level in eight months Thursday as traders worried about bulging supplies of crude oil and falling demand for gasoline.
Meanwhile, natural gas prices fell by 5 percent on forecasts for warmer than normal U.S. weather in the coming weeks.
Benchmark U.S. oil for February delivery fell 67 cents to close at $91.66 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price did rise back above $92 in electronic trading after the close, perhaps piggybacking on a move by U.S. stocks into positive territory.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Department said supplies of gasoline rose by 6.2 million barrels last week, a jump of nearly 3 percent. Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill, said the data indicated that demand for gasoline was the lowest in a year. At the same time, U.S. production of crude oil is the highest in more than 25 years, and supplies “are near the upper limit of the average range for this time of year,” the Energy Department said.
As of the close, oil is down nearly 7 percent so far this year.
Natural gas futures plunged 21 cents, or 5 percent, to $4.01 per 1,000 cubic feet. Natural gas last closed below $4 on Dec. 4. With the U.S. pulling out from a recent spell of extremely cold weather, forecasts are starting to warm up. “Some of these outlooks are tilting increasingly in favor of warmer than normal trends in some parts of the upper mid-continent,” wrote Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, in a note to clients.
Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of crude, dropped 76 cents to $106.39 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
- Wholesale gasoline dipped 1 cent to $2.64 a gallon.
- Heating oil slipped 3 cents to $2.92 a gallon.
Crude Oil Price: $ 95.44
Oil Price Falls Below $96
The price of oil dropped 3 percent Thursday on expectations of higher global supplies and the impact of a strengthening dollar.
U.S. benchmark oil for February delivery fell $2.98 to close at $95.44 a barrel in New York. It was the biggest one-day drop in crude since November of 2012.
Brent crude, a benchmark used to price international crude used by many U.S. refineries, was down $3.02 to $107.78 a barrel.
U.S. oil was lower for the third straight day after closing above $100 per barrel Friday for the first time since October. Oil had risen because an improving U.S. economy lifted consumption.
The recent retreat in the price follows reports that an end to protests at a major Libyan oil field could return 300,000 barrels of daily production to the global market. That has raised expectations that supplies will be ample.
Brighter prospects for the U.S. economy have also raised expectations that the Federal Reserve will continue to shrink its stimulus program, and that has helped boost the value of the dollar. A stronger dollar makes commodities such as oil that are priced in dollars more expensive to buyers using other currencies. That lowers demand, and prices.
“Further improvement in the U.S. economy should be supportive of the U.S. dollar and that will continue to play against oil demand in emerging markets,” said Olivier Jakob, an analyst at Petromatrix in Switzerland. He highlighted recent protests in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, against rising gasoline prices.
The U.S. national retail gasoline price rose less than a penny to $3.33 per gallon, according to AAA, OPIS and Wright Express. The price has climbed 6 cents per gallon over the past week and is 4 cents higher than a year ago.
In other energy futures trading:
- Wholesale gasoline fell 9.1 cents to close at $2.695 a gallon.
- Natural gas futures for February rose 9.1 cents to close at $4.321 per 1,000 cubic feet.
- Heating oil fell 7.8 cents to close at $2.987 a gallon.
AP writer Pablo Gorondi contributed to this report from Budapest