March 19th, 2012

Crude oil futures traded near the highest price in a week in New York as investors bet that a U.S. economic recovery and Saudi Arabian crude output near the strongest level since at least 1980 signal fuel demand is increasing.

Crude oil futures were little changed after climbing the most in more than three weeks on March 16. Saudi Arabia, the largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, pumped 9.87 million barrels a day in January, according to data submitted to the Joint Organization Data Initiative. Reports this week may show the economy strengthening in the U.S., the world’s biggest crude consumer.

“We’re looking at a period of moderate growth in the U.S., and the outlook has picked up,” said Ric Spooner, a chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney who sees West Texas Intermediate crude trading in a range of about $104 a barrel to $108 a barrel. “If it continues on from here up into $108 plus in terms of the New York price, that would start to look as though it was making a bit more of a positive statement in terms of breaking resistance from a technical point of view.”

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February 10th, 2012

Crude oil dropped from a three-week high as euro-area finance ministers refused to approve a rescue package for Greece, boosting concern that the European debt crisis will reduce fuel demand.

Futures fell 1.2 percent after Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the group of euro-area finance chiefs, said yesterday that Greece won’t get financial aid until it implements an austerity plan. The International Energy Agency also cut its 2012 global oil demand forecast for a sixth month, citing a “darkening” economic outlook.

“The market rallied earlier this week on signs that the Greek situation was about to be settled and is now giving back those gains,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy. “The longer this crisis continues, the more it will diminish European economic growth and along with that the oil demand outlook.”

Crude oil for March delivery decreased $1.17 to settle at $98.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose for a third day yesterday, climbing 1.1 percent to $99.84, the highest close since Jan. 19. Prices increased 0.8 percent this week and are up 14 percent in the past year.

Brent oil for March settlement fell $1.28, or 1.1 percent, to end the session at $117.31 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It was the first decline in nine days, ending the longest stretch of moves higher since October 2009. The European benchmark contract’s premium to New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude was at $18.64, 11 cents narrower than yesterday’s settlement.

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November 29th, 2011

Crude oil futures rose a third day in New York, recouping earlier losses as a strengthening euro and advancing equities signaled investors were less concerned that Europe’s debt crisis will derail the global recovery.

West Texas Intermediate futures gained as much as 1.1 percent, having earlier lost 1 percent. Demand for 2014 bonds auctioned by Italy today was 1.5 times the amount sold. The U.S. Energy Department may say tomorrow oil inventories rose for the first time in a month, while gasoline supplies climbed for a third week, according to a Bloomberg News survey.

“Sentiment has improved on news of the successful Italian bond auction,” said Andrey Kryuchenkov, an analyst at VTB Capital in London. “We’re seeing a stronger euro as a result, and crude prices gaining alongside the broader commodity market rebound.”

Crude oil futures for January delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange was up 11 cents at $98.32 a barrel at 12:56 p.m. London time after falling as low as $97.23. Brent crude for January settlement on the ICE Futures Europe Exchange was up 87 cents at $109.87 a barrel, reversing a 61-cent decline.

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November 23rd, 2011

Crude oil futures dropped from a three-day high in New York as investors speculated that rising gasoline stockpiles in the U.S. and slowing economic growth in Europe will reduce demand for fuel.

Crude oil futures slipped as much as 1.7 percent before data today that may show shrinking manufacturing and services in Europe this month and falling U.S. durable-goods orders in October. The American Petroleum Institute said motor-fuel supplies climbed 5.42 million barrels last week. The U.S. economy expanded less than previously estimated in the third quarter, Commerce Department figures showed yesterday.

“There’s no reason for investors at the moment to be putting risk back on,” Ric Spooner, a chief analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, said in a telephone interview. “The API figures added to the moderate tone of the market, but the main picture remains what’s happening in Europe.”

Crude oil futures for January delivery slid as much as $1.62 to $96.39 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $96.51 at 3:27 p.m. in Singapore. The contract gained 1.1 percent yesterday to $98.01, the highest close since Nov. 17. Prices are up 19 percent from a year ago.

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November 22nd, 2011

Crude oil futures rose for the first time in four days as new sanctions against Iran raised concern that supplies may be disrupted, while affirmations of U.S. credit ratings and economic growth forecasts for China signaled continuing demand growth in the world’s two largest consumers of crude.

Crude oil futures climbed as much as 1.6 percent in New York after the U.S., the U.K. and Canada expanded measures aimed at thwarting Iran’s nuclear program. Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service affirmed their credit ratings for the U.S. The World Bank said China is heading for growth in excess of 8 percent next year. Crude pared gains after a report showed the U.S. economy expanded less in the third quarter than previously estimated.

“Economic sanctions will increase internal tension in Iran, where inflation is a major problem,” said Filip Petersson, an SEB AB commodity strategist in Stockholm. “A further destabilization could very well lead to an uprising in the long run.”

Crude oil futures for January delivery gained as much as $1.57 to $98.49 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was at $97.32 at 1:41 p.m. London time. Yesterday, the contract slid 75 cents to $96.92, the lowest settlement since Nov. 9. Prices have gained 6.5 percent this year after increasing 15 percent in 2010.

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November 21st, 2011

Crude oil futures fell for a third day to its lowest price in more than a week in New York on concern that Europe’s debt crisis and slower Asian economic growth will curtail fuel demand.

Crude oil futures dropped as much as 2.1 percent to their lowest since Nov. 10. European stocks have lost 18 percent this year as surging borrowing costs for governments raise the risk of recession. Japan, the world’s third-biggest crude consumer, reported the first drop in exports in three months. Saudi Arabian Oil Co. Chief Executive Officer Khalid Al-Falih said the world economy is at risk of a double-dip recession amid sovereign debts and weak U.S. growth.

“Fear that something really bad could happen in Europe, hence demand could fall, has been the main reason prices have been so subdued,” Amrita Sen, an analyst with Barclays Capital in London, said in an interview Sen with Owen Thomas on Bloomberg Television’s “Countdown.”

Crude oil futures for January delivery fell as much as $2.06 to $95.61 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $96.41 a barrel at 12:48 p.m. London time. Front-month prices dropped 1.6 percent last week and are 5.5 percent higher this year.

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November 18th, 2011

Crude Oil in New York declined, widening its discount to Brent crude, on speculation that the reversal of the Seaway pipeline won’t be enough to eliminate a glut in the U.S. Midwest.

West Texas Intermediate oil fell more than Brent two days after Brent’s premium sank to an eight-month low when Enbridge Inc. (ENB) and Enterprise Products Partners LP (EPD) said they will reverse the direction of the pipeline, sending crude from Cushing, Oklahoma, to the Gulf Coast. WTI is the New York benchmark.

“People realized that they overreacted when the Seaway pipeline news was announced,” said Phil Flynn, an analyst with PFGBest in Chicago. “One pipeline isn’t enough to alleviate the glut and the reversal isn’t necessarily a bullish event.”

Crude oil futures for December delivery dropped $1.41, or 1.4 percent, to settle at $97.41 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the week, crude fell $1.58, or 1.6 percent, the first decline in seven weeks. The December contract expired today. The January contract, which traded at nine times the volume of December, fell $1.26 to $97.67.

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November 15th, 2011

Crude oil futures approached $100 a barrel in New York after U.S. retail sales rose more than forecast in October, bolstering optimism that the economy will expand this quarter.

Crude oil futures settled at a three-month high after the Commerce Department said sales rose 0.5 percent last month. A 0.3 percent gain was projected, according to the median of estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. The Energy Department will probably report tomorrow that U.S. oil and fuel supplies fell last week as demand surged, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

“We’ve been too focused on the downside risks and not enough on the upside,” said David Greely, head of energy research at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in New York. “The fundamentals are bullish. U.S. inventories are falling and demand is increasing.”

Crude oil futures for December delivery rose $1.23, or 1.3 percent, to $99.37 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement since July 26. Futures reached an intraday high of $99.84.

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November 14th, 2011

Crude oil futures traded near the highest level in more than three months as Italy started building a new government that may help contain the European debt crisis and Japan reported its first economic growth in a year.

West Texas Intermediate oil was little changed after rising to $99.69 a barrel, the highest level since July 26. Italy’s president offered Mario Monti, a former European Union competition commissioner, the post of prime minister after Silvio Berlusconi resigned. The economy in Japan, Asia’s second- biggest oil user, expanded at an annualized 6 percent rate last quarter, the Cabinet Office said today in Tokyo.

“The change in Italy over the weekend is the main reason for the markets getting a lift,” said Ole Hansen, senior manager of trading advisory at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen. “Oil has had a really good run in the last few weeks.”

Crude oil futures for December delivery was at $98.66 a barrel, down 33 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 9:29 a.m. London time. Prices rose 5 percent last week and have increased for six consecutive weeks, the longest run of gains since April 2009.

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November 10th, 2011

Crude oil futures rose to its highest in more than three months in New York as falling unemployment applications and decreasing crude supplies in the U.S. bolstered confidence that demand will remain supported.

Crude oil futures extended gains after the Labor Department said that jobless claims fell by 10,000 to 390,000 in the week ended Nov. 5., the lowest level in seven months. Oil had already gained after Italy met its fund-raising target in a Treasury bills auction. The International Energy Agency reduced forecasts for global oil demand in 2012 for a third month on weaker prospects for developed nations.

“It’s quite bullish at the moment in the oil market,” said Gerrit Zambo, a trader at Bayerische Landesbank in Munich. “But the bullish sentiment can easily turn again if we see markets crashing further due to the Italian situation.”

Crude oil futures for December delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose as much as $2.16 to $97.90 a barrel. It was at $97.49 at 1:38 p.m. London time. Yesterday, the contract climbed to a three-month high of $97.84 before falling to settle at $95.74.

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