February 8th, 2012

Crude oil rose to its highest in a week in New York after a report showed U.S. stockpiles shrank, signaling increased demand in the world’s biggest crude consumer.

West Texas Intermediate futures climbed to $99.65 a barrel, the highest since Jan. 31. Crude inventories fell 4.5 million barrels in the seven days ended Feb. 3, the first drop in three weeks, the American Petroleum Institute said after yesterday’s settlement. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News had forecast today’s Energy Department report would show supplies rose 2.5 million barrels.

“Inventories decreasing are adding to the supply concerns in the market,” said Sintje Boie, an analyst at HSH Nordbank in Hamburg. “Demand is quite strong because of the winter season. There are already supply worries from Iran’s threat to stop exports to Europe.”

Crude for March delivery advanced as much as $1.24, or 1.3 percent, to $99.65 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $99.28 at 12:50 p.m. London time. Yesterday, it increased $1.50 to $98.41, the highest settlement since Jan. 31. Prices are up 14 percent from a year ago.

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February 6th, 2012

Crude oil futures fell from the highest price in three days in New York on speculation Greece’s steps to avert a financial collapse may fall short, threatening Europe’s economy and demand for fuel.

Crude oil futures dropped as much as 0.9 percent before political leaders in Greece meet today to discuss a detailed agreement for meeting the terms of an international financial rescue. The premium of London-traded Brent oil to New York contracts rose for an eighth day after militants in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest crude producer, attacked and damaged a pipeline.

“The potential now is for disappointment out of Europe,” said Michael McCarthy, a chief market strategist at CMC Markets Asia Pacific Pty in Sydney. “I suspect this one is going to drag on a fair bit. This echoes the very disappointing rhetoric we’ve heard out of Europe many times before.”

Crude oil futures for March delivery slid as much as 89 cents to $96.95 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $96.97 at 4:32 p.m. Singapore time. The contract rose $1.48 to $97.84 on Feb. 3, the highest settlement since Jan. 31. Prices are down 1.9 percent this year.

Brent oil for March settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange dropped as much as 68 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $113.90 a barrel. The European benchmark contract was at a premium of $17.06 to New York-traded West Texas Intermediate, the widest since Nov. 8. The spread was a record $27.88 on Oct. 14.

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January 30th, 2012

Crude oil futures dropped for a second day in New York on speculation that European Union leaders meeting today may fail to resolve the region’s debt crisis, while OPEC’s secretary-general said the market is well-supplied.

Crude oil futures slipped as much as 0.9 percent as stocks dropped and the dollar strengthened. EU chiefs will gather in Brussels today to complete a German-led deficit-control treaty and endorse a 500 billion-euro ($660 billion) rescue fund. Hedge funds and other large speculators increased wagers on rising crude prices, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Commitment of Traders report on Jan. 27 showed.

“The market is taking off risk before the meeting,” said Thina Saltvedt, an analyst at Nordea Bank AB in Oslo, who predicts Brent crude will average $107 a barrel this quarter. “Ahead of this meeting, sentiment is less optimistic.”

Crude oil futures for March delivery fell as much as 85 cents to $98.71 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was at $99.10 at 1:10 p.m. London time. The contract lost 14 cents to $99.56 on Jan. 27. Prices are 0.3 percent higher this month.

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January 25th, 2012

Crude oil futures rose after Federal Reserve officials said the U.S. benchmark interest rate will stay low until at least 2014 to bolster growth and cut unemployment, boosting fuel demand.

Crude oil futures advanced 0.5 percent as the Federal Open Market Committee extended its previous pledge to keep rates low at least until the middle of 2013. The Energy Department reported that total fuel consumption increased 7.5 percent to 19.2 million barrels a day in the week ended Jan. 20.

“We’re up because of the FOMC statement,” said Hamza Khan, an analyst with the Schork Group Inc., a consulting company in Villanova, Pennsylvania. “The Fed’s policy is good for the economic outlook. This points to steady growth ahead, which will be good for oil demand.”

Crude oil futures for March delivery rose 45 cents to settle at $99.40 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures dropped to $97.53 early in the session. Prices are up 15 percent from a year earlier.

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January 24th, 2012

Crude Oil fell as a stalemate between European policy makers and Greek bondholders over debt relief increased concern that the euro-zone debt crisis will spread.

Crude oil futures dropped as much as 1.3 percent after European finance ministers balked at putting up more public money for Greece, calling on holders of Greek debt to provide greater relief. The International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for the global economy as Europe slips into a recession and growth cools in China and India.

“The problems with Greece and the bondholders have yet to be resolved, which continues to be a major worry,” said Chris Dillman, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “The euro-zone concerns are sending equities lower and the dollar is stronger, which is putting downward pressure on oil.”

Crude oil futures for March delivery fell 64 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $98.94 a barrel at 11:04 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract slipped as much as $1.33 to $98.25. Prices are up 13 percent from a year earlier.

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January 23rd, 2012

Crude oil futures rose as the European Union announced a phased-in embargo of Iranian (OPCRIRAN) crude in an effort to contain the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

The ban will be implemented in stages by July 1, Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal told reporters today in Brussels. The region bought 450,000 barrels a day of Iran’s oil in the first half of 2011, U.S. Energy Department data show. EU finance heads are meeting to craft a long-term plan to tackle the area’s debt crisis.

“It remains to be seen how the embargo will be implemented and therefore how prices will react,” said Christopher Bellew, a senior broker at Jefferies Bache Ltd. in London. “Sanctions would of course be more effective if the EU can persuade other buyers to join them. And full implementation has been delayed to July 1. A lot can happen in five months.”

Crude oil brent for March settlement gained as much as $1.33, or 1.2 percent, to $111.19 a barrel and was at $111.80 a barrel at 1:37 p.m. on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.

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January 18th, 2012

Crude ol futures  in New York as the Obama administration denied a permit for TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL pipeline, which would have carried crude to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries from Alberta’s oil sands.

West Texas Intermediate oil, the U.S. benchmark, retreated after two people familiar with the matter said the rejection was imminent. The announcement came after the close of floor trading. Oil climbed earlier after the Federal Reserve figures showed that U.S. industrial output rose 0.4 percent in December.

“Inventories are going to increase because of this,” said Stephen Schork, president of the Schork Group in Villanova, Pennsylvania. “There was a bet that WTI would move closer to the world price this year” and the Keystone rejection will end that prospect, he said.

Crude oil futures uary delivery fell 12 cents to settle at $100.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It dropped to $99.84 from $100.98 on the Keystone news before rebounding.

Crude oil futures rose from the settlement after the American Petroleum Institute reported that oil inventories declined 4.81 million barrels to 330.1 million last week. February crude increased 33 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $101.04 a barrel in electronic trading at 4:32 p.m.

Brent oil for March settlement declined 87 cents, or 0.8 percent, to end the session at $110.66 a barrel on the London- based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European contract’s premium to March crude on the Nymex narrowed 76 cents to $9.90 a barrel at the close of trading. That’s down from a record high of $27.88 on Oct. 14.
Crude Oil Futures: Supply Report

An Energy Department report tomorrow will probably show that U.S. crude inventories grew 3 million barrels to 337.6 million in the seven days ended Jan. 13, according to the median of 12 analyst estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. A gain would be the fourth in a row.

The administration will let TransCanada submit a new application for an alternate route that avoids an environmentally sensitive area in Nebraska. The 1,661-mile (2,673-kilometer) pipeline would have carried 700,000 barrels of crude a day.

In November the administration delayed approving the project until after the 2012 election, saying it wanted to study an alternate route. Last month, Congress set a 60-day deadline for the administration to decide whether to issue a permit.

“We’ll be back to the old status quo of oil,” said Rich Ilczyszyn, founder and chief market strategist at Iitrader.com in Chicago. “Plenty of oil coming into the Midwest and there is no way to get it anywhere else. Locally it will be very bearish for WTI.”

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December 28th, 2011

Crude oil futures declined for the first time in seven days as a surge in the European Central Bank’s balance sheet to a record highlighted the growing risks of the region’s debt crisis.

Crude oil futures dropped as much as 2.2 percent after the ECB lent financial institutions more money last week in an attempt to keep credit flowing. The euro tumbled to the lowest level since January against the dollar, curbing investor demand for commodities. Oil also decreased on reduced concern that Iran will block the Strait of Hormuz.

“The biggest news right now is that the euro is coming in pretty strongly,” said Tom Bentz, a director with BNP Paribas Prime Brokerage Inc. in New York. “It was time for a correction after rising for six days.”

Crude oil futures for February delivery declined $1.72, or 1.7 percent, to $99.62 a barrel at 1:18 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, prices touched $99.11 a barrel. Futures have climbed 9 percent this year, extending last year’s advance of 15 percent.

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December 14th, 2011

Crude oil futures traded near the lowest price in more than five weeks in New York after OPEC raised its output ceiling and Europe’s debt crisis worsened, threatening a recession that may curb demand for commodities.

Crude oil futures were little changed after dropping yesterday the most since September after members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting in Vienna agreed to raise their output target to 30 million barrels a day. Prices were also depressed by events in Europe, with Italy’s five-year bond yield climbing to a 14-year high at an auction. Ernst & Young LLP said the euro region is likely to slip back into recession.

“Europe and OPEC are the drivers,” said Ric Spooner, a chief analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney. “European leaders haven’t addressed the issue of potential contagion of the sovereign debt problems. That creates the possibility that confidence will be a problem for international economies, and a lack of confidence has the impact of dampening demand for most things, including commodities.”

Crude oil futures for January delivery was at $94.96 a barrel, up 1 cent, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 12:45 p.m. Sydney time. The contract yesterday slid 5.2 percent to $94.95, the lowest close since Nov. 4. Prices are 3.9 percent higher this year after climbing 15 percent in 2010.

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December 7th, 2011

Crude Oil futures fell below $100 a barrel in New York after the U.S. Energy Department reported that crude and fuel inventories climbed as imports surged.

Crude oil futures dropped as much as 1.6 percent after the government said crude stockpiles rose 1.34 million barrels to 336.1 million last week and imports reached a 10-week high. Oil also decreased after a German official raised doubts that there will be an agreement on easing Europe’s debt crisis this week.

“The were many bearish aspects to today’s report, not just the inventory builds,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy. “Crude stocks were able to build in the face of a significant gain in refinery runs because of the gain in imports.”

Crude oil futures for January delivery fell 48 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $100.80 a barrel at 1:51 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures, which were at $101.06 before the report’s release at 10:30 a.m. in Washington, slipped as low as $99.67. Prices are up 10 percent this year.

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