Crude prices jump on supply concerns
Crude oil prices were higher Thursday, with July contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude up 98 cents to $101.72 per barrel about twenty minutes before the close of floor trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude was lately up $1.64 to $119.49 per barrel onthe ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.
Earlier, WTI was above $102 per barrel on concerns that supplies are tightening after the US Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday that US inventories were down by nearly 5 million barrels last week and after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries yesterday held production quotas steady rather than raising output as most analysts had expected it would.
The International Energy Agency issued a statement saying it was disappointed that OPEC had not increased production after it had earlier recommended that it do so because current high oil prices are a danger to the global economy and it’s recovery.
Nymex July gasoline futures were up 6 cents to $3.03 per gallon while July heating oil futures added 4 cents to $3.14 per gallon, but July natural gas futures dropped 18 cents to $4.67 per million British thermal units.
Natural gas prices dropped after the EIA said that US inventories grew more than expected last week, adding 80 billion cubic feet to 2.187trillion cubic feet in the week against an expected gain of 74 billion cubic feet and 78 billion cubic feet, although stockpiles remained 2.6percent below the five-year average and 10.4 percent lower than last year’s levels.
The retail price for a gallon of gasoline dropped nearly a cent and ahalf overnight, to $3.734 per gallon on average nationally for regular unleaded.