Crude oil prices down ahead of inventories report
Price for oil and natural gas fell again on Wednesday ahead of weekly US inventory figures, due on Thursday. The price declines came as forecasts continue to look for mild weather in the US which has led to lower demand for heating oil. While the stockpiles data are expected to show that crude oil inventories are down, gasoline and distillate inventories are widely expected to be up.
Brent crude February contracts were 12 cents lower in London to $60.98 per barrel, while February delivery West Texas Intermediate crude dropped 40 cents to $60.70 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Heating oil was lower by just under one cent to $1.6205 per gallon, but Nymex unleaded gasoline was 2.84 cents higher to $1.60 per gallon. Natural gas, meanwhile, fell 32.3 cents to $5.70 per 1,000 cubic feet.
In metals markets, gold added $3.40 on Wednesday, to $630.30 per ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price increase, which comes on the heels of a gain of nearly $5 on Tuesday, comes as investors look for a safe place to put their money amid continuing tensions over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The Iranian parliament passed a bill Wednesday that will allow the government there to reevaluate its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency. The bill came after the UN voted last Saturday to put sanctions against Iran in place in an effort to try to persuade it to slow down or halt its enrichment of nuclear fuel. It is feared that Iran will limit the number of IAEA inspections it allows, which could lead to even more sanctions and a further increase in tensions.