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High Inventories Keep Crude Oil Prices from Advancing on Week

Commodities / Crude Oil Apr 11, 2010 - 06:05 AM GMT

By: OilPrice_Com

Commodities Crude oil prices ended the week virtually unchanged from a week ago as optimism about demand warred with trepidation about historically high inventories in both crude oil and gasoline.


The benchmark West Texas Intermediate contract settled at $84.92 a barrel on Friday, only 5 cents ahead of the previous week’s Thursday close after surging above $87 a barrel early in the week and then declining for three straight sessions.

Bears noted that oil seemed unable to stay above $87 a barrel level, while bulls said that oil had tested the $84 level going down and found resistance.

The contango for oil increased during the week, suggesting continued downward pressure on short-term prices. Contango is when further-dated contracts have higher prices than near contracts. Contango widened to about 60 cents from 40 cents as near-term prices fell at the end of the week.

Analysts also noted that the gasoline crack spread – the difference between a barrel of crude and a barrel of gasoline – declined over the week, indicating soft demand for gasoline.

Crude oil inventories rose for the 11th straight week and gasoline inventories remained high for the season. Refineries increased capacity utilization to nearly 85%, giving rise to concerns that gasoline stocks would remain high if seasonal demand failed to materialize.

Crude oil has gained more than 70% over the past year, outstripping the fundamentals, on speculation that economic recovery would result in an increase in demand.

Energy prices are approaching a crossroads, analysts said. Either demand will in fact start reducing inventories and prices will head toward $100 a barrel, or inventories will remain at above-average levels and prices could head back in the direction of $75 a barrel.

Continued uncertainty about Greece’s fiscal crisis also dampened oil prices. Fitch downgraded Greek debt to BBB-, the lowest investment-grade rating, increasing the country’s borrowing costs even as it frantically tries to raise money in international capital markets. A Greek default and its knock-on effects in Europe could severely impact economic recovery and reduce demand for oil.

Source: http://www.oilprice.com/..

By Darrell Delamaide Oilprice.com who focus on Fossil Fuels, Alternative Energy, Metals, Crude Oil Prices and Geopolitics. To find out more visit their website at: http://www.oilprice.com

© 2010 Copyright OilPrice.com- All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


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