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Prices for gasoline, heating oil rise

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by Elaine Frei

Expectations of escalation in Lebanon and sabotage to a pipeline in northern Iraq sent crude oil prices up again on Tuesday. Brent crude for September delivery was up $1.37 in late afternoon trade in London to $76.52 per barrel, bringing its total gain since Friday to over $3 per barrel. By late morning on the New York Mercantile Exchange, September contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude was 90 cents higher to $75.50 per barrel.

Petroleum products also saw price hikes after the chief executive of Valero, the largest independent refiner in the United States, said that slow growth in refining capacity, combined with demand growth and tighter fuel specifications will keep supplies tight for the time being. Nymex unleaded gasoline September contracts were up 7.07 cents to $2.2825 per gallon, while September Nymex heating oil was 4.84 cents higher to $2.0860 per gallon.

Among metals, gold prices were up by $10 to $644.50.$645.45 per troy ounce. On the other hand, copper prices were $180 lower to $7,770 per tonne. Copper workers at Escondida mine in Chile set a Wednesday deadline for management to raise pay in order to avoid a strike there. Meanwhile, copper inventories at London Metal Exchange warehouses were up, helping prices to go lower.

Prices on agricultural commodities were higher, mostly on weather concerns. In France, wheat prices added €1 to €126.75 per tonne due to predictions of smaller crops due to the heat wave there. Meanwhile, orange and cotton futures on the New York Board of Trade were up after suggestions that tropical storm Chris could damage crops in Florida. Orange juice futures were at $1.7590 per pound, their highest in over 15 years, while October cotton futures were up by 1.15 cents to 54.60 cents per pound.

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News posted: August 1, 2006

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