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Crude oil stockpiles rise, gasoline inventories decline

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by Elaine Frei

New data from the US Energy Information Administration, released on Wednesday, showed that inventories of crude oil in the United States grew by 3.2 million barrels in the week ending April 7, when an increase of only 1.4 million barrels had been expected. Despite this, crude oil prices were up on the day after gasoline and heating oil inventories were down more than had been anticipated. Gasoline stockpiles dropped by 3.9 million barrels against an expected 2.4 million barrel decline, while heating oil inventories fell by 4.2 million barrels, also a larger drop than anticipated. These declines, coupled with concerns that demand will increase during the summer, sent prices up.

May contracts for Brent crude, which expired at the end of the trading day, added 20 cents to $69.57 per barrel. June contracts, which become the front contract tomorrow, were up 60 cents to $70.34 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery added 17 cents to $69.15 per barrel. Nymex gasoline for May delivery was up 3 cents to $2.0840 per gallon, while Nymex May heating oil added 2.8 cents to $1.9830 per gallon.

Precious metals saw prices up yet again. Gold prices were up 0.6 percent on the day to $597.00 per troy ounce after once again trying to rise to the $600 level, with the Iran situation one reason for the increases. Silver gained 2.4 percent to $12.74 per troy ounce, while Platinum added 0.6 percent to $1,091.

New record high prices were set in base metals. Copper added 2.3 percent on the day to trade at $6,105 per tonne as supply concerns continued. Supply worries were also an issue in rising zinc prices. Three-month zinc gained 2.1 percent to $3,005 per tonne, a new record.

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News posted: April 12, 2006

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