MARKET WATCH: NYMEX December crude falls below $45/bbl on employment stats

Crude oil prices retreated on the New York market Nov. 6 following the release of statistics showing US nonfarm payrolls rose by a seasonally adjusted 271,000 jobs in October. Brent prices also fell on the London market.

Analysts said the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed nonfarm jobs rose about 50% more than they had anticipated (OGJ Online, Nov. 6, 2015).

Many believe strong economic data will encourage the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates in December, which could strengthen the dollar and put downward pressure on oil, which trades in dollars.

The Wall Street Journal Index, which gauges the dollar against a basket of 16 currencies, recently was 90.45, marking its highest since December 2002.

For the week ended Nov. 6, the US drilling rig count dropped for the 10th time in 11 weeks, losing 4 units to 771, again its lowest point since Apr. 26, 2002, according to Baker Hughes Inc. (OGJ Online, Nov. 6, 2015).

Since Aug. 21, the count has fallen 114 units after a short-lived summer rebound. Compared with this week a year ago, the count has lost 1,154 units.

Fitch Ratings on Nov. 9 lowered its oil-price assumptions, saying the market is unlikely to balance until the second half of 2016 at the earliest.

For US light, sweet crude for 2016, Fitch now assumes an average $50/bbl, rising to $60/bbl in 2017. For Brent crude oil prices, Fitch now assumes an average $55/bbl in 2016, rising to $65/bbl in 2017.

Energy prices

The December crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped 91¢ on Nov. 6 to $44.29/bbl. The January crude oil contract was down 77¢ to $45.47/bbl.

The NYMEX natural gas contract for December climbed by nearly a penny to a rounded $2.37/MMbtu. The Henry Hub gas price climbed 7¢ to $2.16/MMbtu.

Heating oil for December delivery edged up a fraction of a penny to remain at a rounded $1.49/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for December was up nearly 1¢ to a rounded $1.37/gal.

The December ICE contract for Brent crude was down 56¢ to $47.42/bbl. The January contract dropped 60¢ to $48.17/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for November closed at $449.25/tonne, down $2.

The average price for the OPEC basket of 12 benchmark crudes for Nov. 6 was $42.72/bbl, down 56¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

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

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