Member access

4-Traders Homepage  >  News

News

Latest NewsCompaniesMarketsEconomy & ForexCommoditiesHot NewsMost Read NewsRecomm.Business LeadersVideosCalendar 

Crude-Oil Futures Settle Up After Steep Two-Day Losses

02/22/2013 | 03:43pm US/Eastern

--Crude struggles to its feet after two-day pounding

--RBOB gasoline recovers after sharp three-day decline

--Budget-deal deadline and product expirations loom next week

 
   By David Bird 
 

NEW YORK--Crude-oil futures prices, battered in a sharp two-day selloff on demand worries, settled modestly higher Friday, while gasoline futures prices rebounded.

"It seems the blood-letting ran its course and the market's trying to catch its breath," said Gene McGillian, broker and analyst at Tradition Energy.

Front-month U.S. benchmark crude-oil futures prices dropped $4.58 a barrel in the previous two days, ending Thursday at a new 2013 low. Prices barely staggered to their feet after the two-day pounding, in which commodity funds shed their expectations of near-term higher prices, helped by a large jump in U.S. crude-oil inventories.

Market anxieties may not let up next week as the March-delivery contracts for reformulated-gasoline and heating-oil futures expire at Thursday's settlement and the March 1 deadline to break a government impasse and reach a deal to avoid $85 billion in automatic spending cuts looms. Failure to reach a deal likely would unnerve markets, traders said.

Light, sweet crude-oil futures for April delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange settled 29 cents higher, at $93.13 a barrel.

April ICE Brent crude oil, which lost $3.99 over the previous two days, settled 51 cents higher Friday, at $114.10 a barrel.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs said oil prices are now "in line with fundamentals" after moving too high on "forward-looking survey data generating renewed optimism" on the global economy and oil-demand growth. The reality of "lackluster" hard data on actual demand and weak physical markets for oil brought about the selloff, the analysts said in a note.

Pressure on U.S. crude prices built when the Energy Information Administration reported domestic crude-oil stocks rose by 4.1 million barrels last week, more than twice the expected level. Stocks are now sufficient to meet nearly 27 days of current low demand from refiners, EIA data show. That is the highest level of inventory cover since March 1994, and crude-oil stocks outright are at their highest level for this time of year on EIA data beginning in 1982.

Andy Lebow, senior vice president for energy futures at Jefferies Bache, said U.S. crude now appears set to trade in a range of $90-$95 for the near term, down from the recent $95-$100 span.

Meantime, fireworks may surround the expiration of the March-delivery reformulated gasoline futures contract next week. The contract dropped 9.8 cents a gallon in the previous three days from a 20-week high, before recovering to settle 1.4% higher Friday.

Price volatility is common at this time of year as refiners walk a fine line between producing enough fuel to meet the winter-grade specification for the March contract before switching to the costlier, cleaner-burning summer-grade fuel that meets the April contract specifications.

In the last four trading days of the March 2012 contract, RBOB futures, then at a seven-month high, fell 11.05 cents, or 3.5%.

March-delivery RBOB futures rose 4.31 cents a gallon Friday, to settle at $3.0796 a gallon.

March-delivery heating oil futures, which shed 12.8 cents over the previous four sessions, settled 0.85 cent higher, at $3.1042 a gallon.

More information on settlements and highs and lows for futures on Nymex and ICE platforms can be found by searching for the following headlines:

 
   Nymex Light Crude Oil Close 
   Nymex Harbor RBOB Gasoline Close 
   Nymex Heating Oil Close 
   ICE Brent Crude Oil Close 
   ICE Gas Oil Close 
 

Write to David Bird at david.bird@dowjones.com

React to this article
Latest news
Date Title
09:40p FITLIFE BRANDS : Announces Preliminary Financial Results for Fiscal Year 2014
09:39p SPIRIT AIRLINES : 5 things to know about air service in Myrtle Beach as the busy summer season approaches
09:35p SEKISUI CHEMICAL : "High Stiff Lightweight Resin Sheet" Developed
09:25p SKYLINE MEDICAL : PDF Add to Briefcase File is in Briefcase
09:22pDJBRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO : Settles Flintkote Litigation
09:22pDJHong Kong Court Finds Thomas Kwok Guilty
09:20p RE/MAX : Business News: Aric Bonner/ReMax
09:20p CELLDEX THERAPEUTICS : Announces Exercise of Underwriters' Option to Purchase Additional Shares
09:20p COMPUTER TASK : CTG Announces 2014 Fourth Quarter and Year End Conference Call And Webcast Information
09:20p EL POLLO LOCO : to Announce Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2014 Results on March 12, 2015
Latest news
Advertisement
Hot News 
ALPHATEC : posts 4Q loss
GIGA TRONICS : Entry into a Material Definitive Agreement, Unregistered Sale of Equity Securities, Financial Statements and Exhibits (form 8-K)
TCPI : is Evaluating Claims Filed on February 26th, 2015
OPTOS : Shares Surge Higher On Recommended Takeover Bid From Nikon
Weight Watchers Loses Money, Members -- 2nd Update
Most Read News
06:22p PAPA JOHN INT'L : Derby Festival tickets go on sale Monday
07:55p TREMOR VIDEO : To Present at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference
08:00p CISCO SYSTEMS : CSCO) Hits a New 52-Week High of $29.99
06:10p STATPRO : Notification of results
07:48p Airbus Group CEO says not ready for retirement - report
Most recommended articles
09:22pDJBRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO : Settles Flintkote Litigation
09:22pDJHong Kong Court Finds Thomas Kwok Guilty
09:19pDJTHOMAS KWOK : Hong Kong Court Finds Thomas Kwok Guilty
09:19pDJU.S. Oil Prices Rise Off Multiyear Lows
09:19pDJRepsol to Buy Talisman Energy for $8.3 Billion --Update
Dynamic quotes  
ON
| OFF