MARKET WATCH: NYMEX, Brent oil prices dropped before Easter

Light, sweet crude oil prices for May delivery fell for a third consecutive session to settle Mar. 24 at $39.46/bbl on the New York market while Brent crude oil also fell on the London market the same day to settle at $40.44/bbl.

Crude oil markets were closed Mar. 25 for the Good Friday holiday. Both contracts posted a weekly loss after 4 weeks of gains.

“The fundamental picture after all remains weak,” Commerzbank analysts said in a note. “There are no viable arguments on the oil market for price rises.”

Miswin Mahesh of Barclays in London said the price of oil could fall back to the low $30/bbl, adding Barclays has forecast light, sweet crude prices will average $34/bbl for the second quarter.

“Investors have been attracted to commodities as one of the best performing assets so far in 2016,” Barclays said in its Commodities Weekly research note. “However, in the absence of any concerted fundamental improvements, those returns are unlikely to be repeated in the second quarter, making commodities vulnerable to a wave of investor liquidation.”

Energy prices

The May crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped 33¢ to $39.46/bbl on Mar. 24. The June contract was down 24¢ to $40.63/bbl.

The NYMEX natural gas contract for April edged up 1¢ to a rounded $1.80/MMbtu. The Henry Hub gas price was $1.72/MMbtu, down 8¢.

Heating oil for April delivery declined a fraction of a penny to remain at a rounded $1.20/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for April rose 1¢ to a rounded $1.46/gal on Mar. 24.

The Brent crude contract for May on London’s ICE declined 3¢ to $40.44/bbl. The June contract was down 6¢ to $41.03/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for April was $360.75/tonne on Mar. 24, down $13.75 from the Mar. 22 price. The Mar. 23 price was unavailable.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries basket of 12 benchmark crudes was unavailable because the OPEC Secretariat was closed Mar. 25 and Mar. 28.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

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