Related News

Home » Business » Energy

Oil near US$79 a barrel

ENERGY prices rose slightly yesterday with a majority of futures traders taking the holiday week off, though a stronger dollar helped keep a barrel of oil below US$79.

Benchmark crude for February delivery added a dime (10 cents) to settle at US$78.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, still the highest close since mid-November. In London, Brent crude for February delivery increased 32 cents to settle at US$77.64 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

A rise in the dollar versus other currencies tends to push oil prices lower. Crude is priced in dollars, and investors holding foreign money can't buy as much when the dollar rises.

Still, oil has pressed higher for five straight days. Crude is getting close to the high for the year of US$82 a barrel, and that's tugging other fuels higher as well.

U.S. retail gas prices increased for the fourth straight day, the first time it's done that since October. The national average climbed a half penny overnight to a new national average of US$2.608 a gallon, according to auto club AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service.

A report released yesterday by MasterCard SpendingPulse said Americans bought more gas last week than they did a year ago, marking the fifth straight week that demand strengthened.

When the new year begins, analyst and trader Stephen Schork said he'll be closely watching for signs of gasoline demand and how oil refiners will react. Petroleum consumption has dropped overall this year in the U.S., and if refiners can't pass along higher crude prices to consumers, then Schork said he expects a downward correction in oil prices.

"Refiners have a difficult row to hoe right now," he said. "These guys can't make money. They can't pass on the exaggerated cost of crude to consumers. Some are trying to sell their refineries, and they're not getting any takers."

In other Nymex trading in January contracts, heating oil rose 2.93 cents to settle at US$2.1028 gallon while gasoline gave up less than a penny to settle at US$2.0106 a gallon. Natural gas fell 17.6 cents to settle at US$5.814 per 1,000 cubic feet.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend