MARKET WATCH: Oil futures fall on strengthening dollar

Light, sweet crude oil prices started July 30 trading with a gain on the New York market, but prices had slipped moderately by settlement, which analysts attributed to a strengthening dollar.

The Wall Street Journal Dollar Index, which tracks the dollar against a basket of foreign currencies, recently traded up 0.4%.

“The dollar effect is usually very short and unlikely to cause a trend downwards,” said Daniel Ang, an investment analyst at Phillip Futures. “Prices are unlikely to fall much further.”

Earlier in the week, US crude oil futures fell below $48/bbl to a 4-month low on news reports that the Chinese stock market plunged, raising concerns about Chinese oil demand. China is among the world’s largest energy consumers.

Meanwhile, the US Energy Information Administration was scheduled to release its Petroleum Supply Monthly report at 2 p.m. EDT on July 31.

Energy prices

The September crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped 27¢ on July 30 to settle at $48.52/bbl. The October contract was down 25¢ to $48.91/bbl.

The natural gas contract for September was down 9.6¢ to a rounded $2.77/MMbtu. The Henry Hub, La., gas price was down 5¢ to $2.85/MMbtu.

Heating oil for August delivery fell by less than a penny to remain at a rounded $1.60/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for August rose by less than a penny to reach a rounded $1.83/gal.

The September ICE contract for Brent crude dropped 7¢ to $53.31/bbl on July 30. The October contract was down 6¢ to $53.98/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for August was down $2 to $493.75/tonne.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes for July 30 was $51.45/bbl, up 63¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

*Paula Dittrick is editor of OGJ’s Unconventional Oil & Gas Report.

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