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Oil prices increase slightly

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by Elaine Frei

Crude oil prices were up slightly on Thursday as investors waited for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to announce a decision on production cuts. As more time passed without word on the form of the cuts, many began to doubt that there would be an agreement at all and some said that the delays were hurting OPEC’s credibility. Meanwhile, the weekly US inventories report showed that crude oil stockpiles were up 2.4 million barrels last week, much above the expected gain of 0.8 million barrels. Gasoline inventories were up a little less than the forecast of 0.5 million barrels, rising by 0.3 million barrels on the week. Distillate inventories were down by 1.6 million barrels, where an increase of 0.1 million barrels had been expected.

Brent crude for November delivery added 10 cents to $58.75 per barrel, while November contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 31 cents to $57.90 per barrel. Nymex November unleaded gasoline was 1.5 cents higher to $1.4650 per gallon, while Nymex November heating oil was up nearly 2 cents to $1.6920 per gallon. Nymex Henry Hub natural gas was 33 cents lower to $5.81 per million British thermal units after inventories were reported up by 62 billion cubic feet last week, about the increase that had been expected.

In the metals markets on Thursday, gold and sliver remained about the same at $575.50 per troy ounce and $11.27 per troy ounce respectively. In base metals, the price of lead was 1.4 percent higher to $1,474 per tonne, but prices for nickel, copper, and aluminium all dropped. Nickel was down 0.2 percent to $30,500 per tonne, while copper fell 0.8 percent to $7,470 per tonne and aluminium dropped 1.1 percent to $2,587.5 per tonne.

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News posted: October 12, 2006

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