Energy Commodities Price Watch: WTI Gains on Fears of Stockpiles Drop
iNVEZZ.com, Tuesday, July 16th: West Texas Intermediate (WTI) today rose, boosted by speculation that a government report would point to a third consecutive week of decline in US crude stockpiles. The Brent oil price also advanced, supported by renewed worries that tension in Egypt might disrupt supplies from the Middle East. The natural gas price slipped on forecasts that this week’s heat wave in the US Northeast will be followed by moderate temperatures.
**WTI Price Climbs**
WTI futures for August delivery added 86 cents to trade at $106.91 a barrel on the NYMEX as of 08:47 EDT. The WTI price rose with investors expecting that the latest weekly report of the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) scheduled to be released tomorrow would show a drop in US crude stockpiles.
Bloomberg quoted Andrey Kryuchenkov, an analyst at VTB Capital, as commenting that oil demand in the US was “rather good, with refinery throughput quite impressive”.
“Fuel demand has been on the mend,” he added.
Investors are also awaiting congressional testimony by the US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke tomorrow for clues on when the Fed would reduce the pace of its bond-buying programme.
**Brent Price Supported by Tensions in Egypt**
Brent futures for August settlement, which expires today, rose 37 cents to trade at $109.46 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe Exchange. The European benchmark found support in the prospects of a drop in US inventories as well as in the most recent developments in Egypt where seven people were killed and more than 260 were wounded when supporters of Mohamed Mursi clashed with opponents of the ousted president and security forces.
“Global demand has picked up strongly, there are huge supply problems at a time when refineries are increasing output,” noted Amrita Sen, analyst at Energy Aspects, as quoted by Reuters. She pointed to output losses in Libya, which has also been hit by protests, and Nigeria, where production has been negatively impacted by oil theft.
Bloomberg quoted Goldman Sachs Group Inc as saying that risks to the Brent oil price had shifted to the upside amid political threats to supply and production losses in the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). According to the bank, Brent would trade at an average of $105 a barrel in the second half of the year.
!m[Brent Price Up on Supply Worries](/uploads/story/4042/thumbs/pic1_inline.jpg)
**Natural Gas Price Cools down**
Natural gas futures for August delivery shed 1.69 percent to trade at $3.61 per million British thermal units on the NYMEX as of 09:14 ET. Commodity Weather Group LLC has forecast that the weather might turn cooler following this week’s heat wave in the US Northeast.
“Once we slip from these extreme temperatures, the story doesn’t look good for natural gas,” noted Bob Yawger, director of the futures division at Mizuho Securities USA Inc, as quoted by Bloomberg. “We’re going to see the weather start to cool off over the weekend.”