Crude prices end week higher
Crude oil prices were up slightly in midday trade in New York Friday, and will likely end the week more than 5 percent higher than they were at the beginning of the week.
Prices were supported by yesterday’s inventories report from the US Energy Information Administration, which showed that crude stockpiles in the US fell by 5 million barrels last week, 1.5 million barrels more than had been anticipated.
Still the declines in crude oil in storage were mostly due to weather problems, as imports were slowed by hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean and production was interrupted in the Gulf of Mexico as offshore facilities were evacuated ahead of Hurricane Alex.
August contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude were up 14 cents to $75.58 per barrel in midday trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while at last report Brent crude had added 20 cents to $74.91 per barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.
Nymex August gasoline futures were up less than a cent to $2.05 per gallon while August heating oil futures added a cent 50 $2.02 per gallon and August natural gas was up 3 cents to $4.42 per million British thermal units.
The retail price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline were a bit lower overnight to $2.713 per gallon on average nationally as analysts said that pump prices have probably peaked for the summer and demand is still weak.
The EIA reported yesterday that wholesale demand for gasoline was up 2 percent in the most recent figures, but analysts considered that a weak gain ahead of a major driving holiday such as Independence day.
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