Oil Closes on 6-Month High, Above $66/Barrel

Nymex crude prices soared Friday to a six-month high of more than $66 a barrel. With prices rising 30% over the month of May, this was the largest monthly increase in price per barrel in more than 10 years, reports Reuters. 

At the close of trading Friday, benchmark crude settled at $66.31 a barrel, rising $1.23 during the day on the New York Mercantile Exchange. 

A number of factors concurrently occurred, helping to boost the price of oil. Among the reasons for the increase in oil prices was analysts’ announcement that the worst of the economic slump has passed, increasing confidence in the market. Also, the US dollar hit a five-month low, which encourages traders in other currencies to invest in oil. On Thursday, the EIA reported that US stocks in crude oil fell 5.4 million barrels during the week. Also on Thursday, the oil cartel OPEC announced that it would keep production levels unaltered. 

Additionally, the EIA projected earlier this week that world energy consumption would increase by 44% between 2006 and 2030. Investors’ belief in increasing demand is also strengthens the price of oil. 

At this time last year, oil was hovering around $130 a barrel. 

Natural gas, on the other hand, fell 3.08% today to $3.84 mmBtu. This represents a 75% slide in gas prices over the past 11 months. Also dampening gas news, Baker Hughes reported that the number of onshore rigs drilling for gas in the US fell eight rigs this week to 703, down from a high of 1,600 in September 2008.


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