MARKET WATCH: Supply continues to weigh down crude oil prices

Crude oil prices on markets in New York and London crept upward on Oct. 22, but appeared destined for another weekly decline on Oct. 23 amid continued concerns about global oversupply.

Fresh on investors’ minds are this week’s higher-than-expected US commercial crude inventories, which gained 8 million bbl for the week ended Oct. 16 to 476.6 million bbl, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s Petroleum Status Report.

While analysts await indications of where future US oil production is headed from this week’s edition of Baker Hughes Inc.’s rig count, attention turned to the beleaguered Chinese economy. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) slashed interest rates by 25 basis points to 4.35%, marking the sixth time over the past year it has made such a move.

Analysts hope it will provide a shot in the arm for the country’s economy and thus demand growth. The US dollar, meanwhile, has risen 2.7% over the last seven sessions, making oil a more expensive proposition for foreign investors.

Energy prices

The December crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 18¢ on Oct. 22 to $45.38/bbl. The January crude oil contract rose 20¢ to $46.12/bbl.

The natural gas contract for November dropped 1.8¢ to a rounded $2.39/MMbtu. The Henry Hub, La., gas price was $2.34/MMbtu, down 2¢.

Heating oil for November delivery increased 1.5¢ to a rounded $1.47/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for November rose 2.59¢ to a rounded $1.31/gal.

The December ICE contract for Brent crude gained 23¢ to $48.08/bbl. The January contract increased 27¢ to $48.83/bbl. ICE gas oil for November settled at $444.50/tonne, up 75¢.

The average price for the OPEC basket of 12 benchmark crudes was $43.44/bbl on Oct. 22, down 23¢.

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