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Wednesday 20th of August 2008
February 23, 2006

Crude oil prices mixed ahead of inventories report


by Elaine Frei

Crude oil prices were mixed on Thursday as analysts and traders waited for the weekly report of US inventories to be released. While April contract Brent crude on the International Petroleum Exchange was up 17 cents to $60.61 per barrel, West Texas Intermediate crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange had lost 11 cents to $60.90. Nymex March gasoline prices, meanwhile, were up 1.13 cents to $1.4858 per gallon, while Nymex heating oil was up 0.4 cents to $1.6560 per gallon.

Ahead of the inventories report, analysts said they expect crude oil supplies to be up by 1.1 million barrels and gasoline stockpiles to be up by the same amount. Distillates inventories are expected to be down by about 1 million barrels. In addition, the Energy Information Agency also said that the east coast of the United States and Texas could see local supply disruptions and price hikes on gasoline due to refineries switching gears to blending gasoline with ethanol due to near-capacity production of ethanol. If the local supply of ethanol is not enough, said the EIA, imports from Brazil could increase.

In precious metals, gold traded at $552.70/$553.60 per troy ounce after prices in Asia dropped nearly 2 percent overnight, at least partly due to a recovery by the Japanese yen. Silver was trading at $9.57/$9.60 per troy ounce. Platinum, meanwhile, traded at $1,022/$1,026 per troy ounce.

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