Current Oil Price Stays Below $98

The current oil price floated below $98 per barrel as traders waited for additional economic signals from the United States.

The U.S. benchmark for delivery in March was 30 cents lower at $97.63 per barrel during afternoon trading on the NYMEX. During the previous trading day, the contract gained 37 cents to settle at a crude price per barrel of $97.94.

The economy of the United States unexpectedly contracted in quarter four, which pushed stock markets down following a rally in January that led the DJIA to almost reach record highs.

In the meantime, rising imports pushed crude oil inventories in the U.S. higher by 5.9 million barrels during the past week, said the government, a rate that is over twice as much as expectated by analysts.

Sufficient crude stocks have been a primary factor in controlling a spike in the price of oil, even if prices have increased $6 a barrel since the year began. Still, crude has not reached the level of $100 a barrel since the early parts of May, 2012.

Weekly unemployment claims will soon be released in Washington. Moreover, traders are waiting for the upcoming release of the employment and manufacturing report for the month of January, with hopes to see signals of improvement in the economy of the U.S

On London’s ICE Futures Exchange, Brent, the benchmark used to assign prices to international types of oil, moved 10 cents lower to $114.80 per barrel.

In other NYMEX trading, the price of wholesale gas moved 0.6 lower to $3.028 per barrel. Heating oil was 0.2 cent higher at $3.107 per gallon. And natural gas shed 3.1 cents to $3.034 per thousand cubic feet.

By: Chris Termeer

Chris Termeer

Chris Termeer is an oil and gas consultant, industry commentator and analyst. His book, Fundamentals of Investing in Oil and Gas provides a comprehensive overview of all aspects of the oil and gas industry, including exploration, drilling, production, storage, transportation and refining, to name but a few.

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