The August oil futures contract rose in today's trading after the International Energy Agency (IEA) slightly raised its global energy demand estimates. Oil futures climbed more than $2, settling at $77.15 per barrel after trading between $74.25 and $76.87.
Paris-based IEA reports that global oil demand for 2011 is expected to rise by 1.6% or 1.3 million b/d year-on-year to 87.8 million b/d. However, oil demand in China and other parts of the world is expected to slow next year. The IEA expects total Chinese oil demand to rise by just 4.8% next year to 9.56 million b/d compared with robust growth of 9.1% this year.
Oil futures also continue to follow the U.S. equities market, which rose higher today on news of better-than-expected corporate earnings from Alcoa. Traders have been looking to U.S. equities as a guide to market sentiment as oil continues to trade within the $70-$80 range and concerns still abound regarding the global economic recovery.
The Henry Hub natural gas future contract declined again in trading today, settling at $4.35 per thousand cubic feet after trading between $4.34 and $4.48. The ample amount of U.S. natural gas continues to depress prices, despite weather forecasts calling for scorching temperatures across the U.S. Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest over the next two weeks.
RBOB gasoline futures today settled at $2.08, up about five cents from Monday, after trading between $2.01 and $2.09.
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