MARKET WATCH: NYMEX September crude oil drops below $45/bbl

Light, sweet crude oil prices for September delivery declined by $1/bbl on July 21 to settle at $44.75/bbl on the New York market. Analysts and traders blamed the price drop on concerns that ample US gasoline supplies might drag down oil demand.

The Petroleum Status Report said total motor gasoline inventories rose about 900,000 bbl for the week ended July 15. Distillate fuel inventories fell 200,000 bbl, the US Energy Information Administration said (OGJ Online, July 21, 2016).

Analysts and oil traders on July 22 awaited release of the Baker Hughes Inc. weekly US rig count.

In London trading, Brent crude oil for September delivery fell 97¢ to settle at $46.20/bbl on July 21, its lowest settlement since May 10. Both light, sweet crude and Brent crude oil prices are down more than 12% from early June when they each briefly settled above $50/bbl.

July 21 marked the first day of trading for the New York September crude oil contract.

On world oil markets, Reuters reported Iraq’s oil exports appear to be higher in July than in June based on information from loading data and comments from an unidentified industry source.

Exports from southern Iraq in the first 21 days of July averaged 3.28 million b/d, Reuters calculated, adding that compared with 3.18 million b/d in June.

The increase comes despite a pipeline leak that caused two of Iraq’s southern terminals to briefly suspend loadings. The leak has been repaired, the Iraqi oil ministry said July 11.

Energy prices

The NYMEX crude oil contract for September declined $1/bbl to settle at $44.75/bbl on July 21. The October contract dropped $1/bbl to close at $45.45/bbl.

The natural gas contract for August gained 3¢ to $2.69/MMbtu. The Henry Hub gas price declined 2¢ to $2.70/MMbtu on July 21.

Heating oil for August delivery dropped 3¢ to a rounded $1.37/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for August edged down by less than a penny to a rounded $1.35/gal.

The September Brent crude contract on London’s ICE fell 97¢ on July 21 to $46.20/bbl. The contract for October declined $1.03 to $46.62/bbl. The August gas oil contract settled at $408/tonne, down $5.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes was $42.93 on July 21, up 20¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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