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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November 9th, 2011

Crude oil futures rose for a sixth day in New York on speculation that Iran’s nuclear plans threaten Middle East stability and Europe’s debt crisis will be easier to resolve as the Italian prime minister offers to step down.

Crude oil futures advanced as much as 0.5 percent, matching the longest streak in a year. The U.S. may pursue additional sanctions against Iran following the release of a United Nations report that concludes the Islamic Republic is working on a nuclear weapon, according to two U.S. officials. Fuel stockpiles fell last week, the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute said yesterday.

“This current supply-shock potential that the markets are looking at with Iran has pushed the price well above our outlook,” said David Lennox, a resource analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney, who had forecast oil trading from $80 to $90 a barrel. “The situation in Europe will still take some time for the corrective activities to flow through to the real economy.”

Crude oil futures for December delivery gained as much as 52 cents to $97.32 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was at $96.86 at 3:45 p.m. Singapore time. Yesterday, the contract climbed $1.28, or 1.3 percent, to $96.80, the highest settlement since July 28. Prices are 6.2 percent higher the past year.

Brent oil for December settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange increased as much as 75 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $115.75 a barrel. The European benchmark contract was at a premium of $18.65 to New York crude, from a record settlement of $27.88 on Oct. 14.

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November 7th, 2011

Crude oil futures increased to a three-month high in New York on the prospect of new leadership in Italy and Greece, two countries that are in the forefront of Europe’s sovereign debt crisis.

Crude oil futures rose 1.3 percent as Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi faced pressure to quit as the country’s 10-year borrowing costs approached the 7 percent level that forced Greece, Ireland and Portugal to seek bailouts. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou agreed to resign to allow a national unity government to secure outside financing.

“Supply and demand are taking a backseat to political factors,” said Adam Sieminski, chief energy economist at Deutsche Bank AG in Washington. “The current system in Europe is struggling to come to terms with the financial difficulties in Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain. There’s a feeling that a change in political leadership may be the needed answer.”

Crude oil oil futures for December delivery rose $1.26 to $95.52 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement price since July 29. Futures are up 10 percent from a year earlier.

Brent oil for December settlement climbed $2.47, or 2.2 percent, to $114.44 on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark reached $114.88, the highest level since Sept. 15.

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November 3rd, 2011

Crude oil futures rose for a second day in New York, reversing earlier losses as European leaders pressured Greece into proceeding with a rescue package that may stem the region’s debt crisis.

West Texas Intermediate futures rebounded from a 1.8 percent decline before a Group of 20 summit set to begin today in Cannes, France. Led by Germany and France, Europe’s economic and political anchors, the euro’s guardians yesterday cut off financial aid for Greece until an early December vote determines whether it deserves a fresh batch of loans.

“Market sentiment about the success of the rescue package seems to change within hours,” said Carsten Fritsch, a Frankfurt-based analyst at Commerzbank AG, who forecasts Brent crude oil will average $100 a barrel this quarter. “We expect Europe to slip into recession, but it will be just a brief and shallow one.”

Crude oil futures for December delivery rose as much as 91 cents, or 1 percent, to $93.42 a barrel and was at $93.07 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 12:06 p.m. London time. It earlier fell as low as $90.87 a barrel.

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October 5th, 2011

Crude oil futures rose for the first time in four days after the U.S. government reported an unexpected stockpile decline in the world’s biggest crude-consuming country.

Crude oil futures climbed as much as 4.9 percent after the Energy Department said supplies fell 4.68 million barrels to 336.3 million last week. Inventories were forecast to increase 1.5 million barrels, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Fuel stockpiles also dropped in the week ended Sept. 30. Oil also rose as U.S. companies added more jobs than forecast last month.

“The DOE report is bullish, any way you look at it,” said Carl Larry, director of energy derivatives and research with Blue Ocean LLC in New York. “The key to where prices move from here is the economy.”

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