MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude reaches $49/bbl while Brent tops $50/bbl

Prices for light, sweet crude oil on the New York market reached above $49/bbl while Brent crude oil prices reached above $50/bbl on the London market on June 20.

Oil prices were falling in early June 21 trading, which traders and analysts largely attributed to uncertainty about a June 23 referendum on whether Britain will exit the European Union. Polls trying to forecast the vote’s outcome are uncertain.

Separately, Commerzbank analysts said oil prices were dampened on reports of a ceasefire between Nigeria’s government and rebels who attacked oil pipelines. The attacks significantly reduced Nigeria’s oil production, but that output could be quickly restored if a ceasefire were to hold.

Ample world oil supplies already exist. Temporarily production outages caused by attacks in Nigeria and wildfires in Canada had supported oil prices in recent weeks.

US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen was scheduled to testify before Congress June 21-22 on monetary policy as she does on a semiannual basis.

Analysts said Yellen’s comments will be closely watched for indications of whether a July US interest rate hike still remains possible as well as for any comments on potential world economic-stability risks regarding the outcome of Britain’s referendum.

Energy prices

The July crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained $1.39 on June 20, settling at $49.37/bbl. The August contract rose $1.40 to $49.96/bbl.

Natural gas for July was up 12¢ to a rounded $2.75/MMbtu on NYMEX. The Henry Hub cash price was up 15¢ to $2.73/MMbtu.

Heating oil for July delivery climbed nearly 5¢ to a rounded $1.53/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for July rose nearly 8¢ to a rounded $1.58/gal.

The August Brent crude contract on London’s ICE gained $1.48 to $50.65/bbl. The September contract was up $1.54 to $51.29/bbl. The July gas oil contract settled at $450.50/tonne on June 20, up $6.50.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of crudes price for June 20 was $46.24/bbl, up $2.06.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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