sharing in governance of extractive industries
Oil surged to its highest year-end price since 2007 as the dollar weakened and gasoline and heating oil futures climbed.
Crude capped its second consecutive year of gains as the dollar dropped against the euro, boosting commodities’ appeal as
an alternative investment. Oil settled above $91 a barrel after
testing technical support near $89. Gasoline and heating oil
advanced before the January contracts expired today.
“A weaker dollar and stronger product prices are all bolstering crude,” said Jason Schenker, president of Prestige Economics LLC, an Austin, Texas-based energy consultant.
Oil for February delivery climbed $1.54, or 1.7 percent, to settle at $91.38 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices fell 13 cents this week and rose 8.6 percent in December.
Futures advanced 15 percent this year amid signs that the global economic recovery is gaining momentum and stoking demand
for raw materials. Commodity prices beat increases in stocks,
bonds and the dollar as China led a recovery from the first
global economic recession since World War II.
Oil ended the year above $90 a barrel for only the second time since the contract started trading in 1983, after settling
at $95.98 in 2007. Prices touched a 26-month high of $92.06 a
barrel in intraday trading today.
The dollar declined to a two-week low of $1.3425 against the euro as confidence in an economic recovery spurred investors
to purchase riskier assets. The euro gained 0.7 percent to
$1.3378 at 3:14 p.m. in New York.
Heating oil and gasoline futures had 20 percent advances in 2010 amid forecasts for demand to increase as the economy improves.
Fuel demand is forecast to rise 0.9 percent in 2011 to 19.3 million barrels a day, after a 1.7 percent gain this year, the
department forecast earlier this month in its Short-Term Energy
Gasoline for January delivery advanced 6.14 cents, or 2.6 percent, to expire at $2.4532 a gallon, the highest settlement since Sept. 30, 2008.
Heating oil for January delivery gained 5.83 cents, or 2.4 percent, to settle at $2.5437 a gallon on the exchange, the most since Oct. 3, 2008.
Total products supplied, a measure of fuel demand, gained 3.1 percent last week to 20.7 million barrels a day, the
greatest amount since May 2008, according to an Energy
Department report yesterday.
Oil fell as low as $89.05 a barrel earlier today. Prices have held above $89 a barrel since Dec. 21.
“We have a very very thin market,” said Peter Beutel, president of Cameron Hanover Inc., an energy adviser in New
Canaan, Connecticut, who said that many traders were off for New
Year’s Eve. Today’s price swings “strike me as primarily a
condition of the market being thin.”
Oil volume in electronic trading on the Nymex was 277,619 contracts as of 3:14 p.m. in New York. Volume totaled 418,292
contracts yesterday, 34 percent below the average of the past
three months. Open interest was 1.42 million contracts, the
highest level since Nov. 15.
Oil may fall next week amid speculation refiners will start building inventories at the beginning of the year, a Bloomberg News survey showed.
Eighteen of 31 analysts, or 58 percent, forecast crude oil will decline through Jan. 7. Ten respondents, or 32 percent,
predicted prices will rise and three estimated there would be
little change. Last week, 53 percent of analysts forecast the
market would increase.
Supplies have fallen 12 percent, the most in 30 years, in December along the U.S. Gulf Coast, where refiners have a tax incentive to cut inventories at year’s end.
Brent crude for February settlement rose $1.66, or 1.8 percent, to $94.75 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London, the highest closing price since Oct. 1, 2008.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at email@example.com.
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