Recent gains in crude oil prices evaporated Tuesday. The NYMEX Light Sweet Crude Oil Futures contract price for June delivery setted at $82.74 a barrel, down $3.45 from Monday's contract price of $86.19. That drop represent a 4% decrease in oil prices, the largest single day drop in crude prices since Feb 4, when prices fell nearly 5%.
Prices seem to have been drive down by a variety of factors that contributed to the sell off. First, the API released data indicating that US oil stocks grew by almost 3 million barrels during the previous week, nearly double the analysts concensus reported by Platts. Secondly, US equities markets took a downward turn as concerns over the Greek debt situation and Euro-zone financial markets made their way across the Atlantic. And third, as concerns over Euro stability grew, the US dollar stregthened relative to the European currency, a trend that has consistently oil driven prices down over the last 12 months or so.
The settlement for the June Henry Hub Natural Gas Futures contract was virtually flat Tuesday, ending the day just a penny higher than the previous day at $4.01 per thousand cubic feet. However, given the significant slide in oil prices, the strength of natural gas is somewhat surprising. Are concerns still afloat that all the oil floating in the Gulf of Mexico will hamper natural gas production?
NYMEX gasoline settled 12 cents lower Tuesday at $2.32 a gallon.
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