MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil prices drop below $60/bbl on stronger dollar

US light, sweet crude oil prices dropped below $60/bbl on May 22 on the New York market while Brent crude oil prices for July settled under $66/bbl on the London market. The New York trading floor was closed on May 25 for the Memorial Day holiday in the US.

Oil futures on the New York market have traded in the range of $58-61/bbl for almost a month. Analysts attributed that range to a declining US crude oil inventory and a strengthening dollar.

The oil price has moved inversely to the dollar in recent weeks. The dollar strengthened on May 23 after the Labor Department said US consumer prices rose in April for the third consecutive month.

The Wall Street Journal Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against other major currencies, recently rose 0.7%.

Meanwhile, Baker Hughes Inc. reported the rig count declined 3 units to a total of 885 for the week ended May 22, marking a slowing in the rate of decline in the rig count (OGJ Online, May 22, 2015).

Energy prices

The July crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped $1 on May 22 to settle at $59.72/bbl. The July contract fell $1 to settle at $60.12/bbl.

The natural gas contract for June declined 6¢ to a rounded $2.89/MMbtu. The Henry Hub, La., gas price was $2.88/MMbtu, down 5¢.

Heating oil for June fell 3.3¢ a rounded $1.95/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for June decreased a rounded 3¢ to a rounded $2.05/gal.

The July ICE contract for Brent crude fell $1.17 to $65.37/bbl while the August contract dropped $1.13 to $65.93/bbl, respectively. The ICE gas oil contract for June was down $10 to $599.50/tonne.

The average price for the OPEC’s basket of 12 benchmark crudes for May 25 was $61.18/bbl, down 85¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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

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