OPEC shows signs of crude oil production cuts
Crude oil prices were a bit lower on Thursday. Traders worried that demand could grow at the same time that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries seem to be living up to promised production cuts. ConocoPhillips reported on Wednesday that it had been ordered to cut production at its operations in Libya and Venezuela, indicting that OPEC member nations are beginning to comply with already-announced cuts.
Brent crude for March delivery was 13 cents lower to $55.30 per barrel in London, while at midday in New York West Texas Intermediate crude March contracts were trading at $55.28, a decline of 9 cents on the New York Mercantile Exchange after going as high as $55.90 earlier in the session. Gasoline and heating oil were each less than a cent lower, to $1.4609 per gallon and $1.5823 per gallon respectively. Natural gas prices were down to $7.166 per 1,000 cubic feet, a decline of 25.5 cents, even though the US Energy Information Administration said that stockpiles declined by 179 billion cubic feet last week.
Gold was lower in precious metals markets on Thursday, but silver, platinum and palladium were all higher. February Gold had dropped 20 cents to $648 per troy ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while March silver was 19.7 cents higher to $13.47 per troy ounce. April platinum added $6.90 to $1,180 per troy ounce and palladium added $2.85 to $352 per troy ounce.