Disappointing data drags oil prices lower
The price of crude oil fell Tuesday on disappointing data about consumer sentiment and home prices in the United States.
September contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude were down $1.97 to $77.01 per barrel in afternoon trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude was last down $1.74 to $75.76 per barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.
The Conference Board reported that its consumer confidence index is at 50.4 in July, down from 54.3 in June, on concerns that the job market in the US is not improving.
Meanwhile, the Case-Schiller/Standard & Poor’s home price index showed that prices for single-family homes in metropolitan areas of the United States were up 1.3 percent in May from April, but analysts warned that the gain could not be interpreted as an upturn in the housing market because May traditionally sees strong home prices and because part of the price hike likely has to do with heavier sales ahead of the expiration of a tax credit for homebuyers.
Nymex August gasoline futures and August heating oil futures were each down 5 cents, to $2.05 per gallon and $1.99 per gallon respectively, but August natural gas added 1 cent to $4.63 per million British thermal units.
The price moves during the day also came ahead of Wednesday’s weekly report on inventories from the US Energy Information Administration, with analysts expected that crude oil inventories fell by 2.3 million barrels last week, but that gasoline stockpiles were up 1.1 million barrels and that distillates in storage were up by 1.8 million barrels.
The price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline remained steady overnight at $2.742 per gallon on average nationally in the US.
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