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Crude Oil Futures Rise to Nearly $97/Barrel

Published: January 29, 2013 | 8:41 am
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Crude oil futures continued to rise in Asian trading Tuesday on optimism about a sustained pickup in the U.S. economy, with the OPEC chief’s comments that he didn’t expect a collapse in oil prices this year also boosting sentiment.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in March traded at $96.87 a barrel at 0649 GMT, up $0.43 in the Globex electronic session. March Brent crude on London’s ICE Futures exchange rose $0.15 to $113.63 a barrel.
Oil prices have seen solid gains so far this year, mainly due to signs of economic growth and higher demand in the world’s two biggest economies, the U.S. and China.
Nymex crude has gained $5 a barrel since Jan. 1 and is trading near its highest level since mid-September. However, recent gains have been capped by news that the expanded Seaway Pipeline–carrying crude from Cushing, Okla., to refineries on the Mexican Gulf coast–wasn’t able to carry the expected 400,000 barrels a day.
Brent is at a three-month high but still trading within the $105-$115 range seen in the past six months.
“Momentum and investor sentiment remain positive which could now carry it forward to test the top of this range despite limited fundamental support for such a move,” said Saxo Bank analyst Ole S. Hansen.
Oil prices rose along with regional Asian shares, as positive sentiment builds on signs of a pickup in the U.S. economy and ahead of major economic events this week, including Wednesday’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting and Friday’s non-farm payrolls numbers.
“Economic optimism and a general brightening of sentiment suggest that the upswing we saw last week will continue,” said analysts at Commerzbank.
Improving sentiment in the oil market was boosted by comments from Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ secretary general, Abdalla Salem el-Badri, that the market is well-balanced and he doesn’t fear an oil price collapse as predicted by some analysts. OPEC produces more than one in three barrels of oil consumed in the world each day.
Nymex reformulated gasoline blendstock for February–the benchmark gasoline contract–fell 48 points to $2.9300 a gallon, while February heating oil traded at $3.0605, 11 points lower.
ICE gasoil for February changed hands at $975.50 a metric ton, up $4.75 from Monday’s settlement.

Write to Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen at jacob.pedersen@dowjones.com

Copyright © 2013 Dow Jones Newswires

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