Crude oil reached more than $69 a barrel on Tuesday in intra-day trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Settling at $68.55 a barrel on NYMEX, the price of crude oil fell 3 cents, leveling off from its recent 30% rise during the previous month.
London Brent crude today rose 16 cents to close at $68.13 a barrel.
Staying in line with yesterday’s prices, oil continues to be buoyed by an improved economic outlook, boosted today by US home sales data released from the National Association of Realtors, as well as the continued weakness of the US dollar.
"The overall trend of commodities is up, and that's pretty normal this time of year," said Darin Newsom, senior analyst with Nebraska-based market information service DTN.
While the drop in the value of the dollar and an increase in the Dow have encouraged investment in oil commodities, Newsom revealed that the interest in the oil market is inline with seasonal trends.
"It’s similar to what we saw last year when the price of oil was pushed past $140 a barrel," Newsom said. "And while the market continues to rally, the underlying fundamentals remain bearish. A seasonal increase in gas consumption is already helping to push crude oil higher while other outside factors, such as a threat of hurricanes to Gulf of Mexico installations, have not yet come into play."
Newsom warns the recent rise in oil prices may lead to another drop.
"The market may be setting itself up," warned the analyst.
Also on the NYMEX, natural gas settled at $4.12 per mmBtu for Henry Hub futures, which is a 13 cent fall, representing a 3% drop.
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