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Oil prices continue to fall after a big drop Tuesday due to mild U.S. weather

Oil prices continue to fall after a big drop Tuesday due to mild U.S. weather

Oil prices fell for the fourth straight trading session Wednesday, settling at their lowest level in more than a month amid mild U.S. weather that has depressed demand for home-heating fuels.
Natural gas futures have fallen even harder in recent days for the same reason, settling Wednesay at their lowest level in more than 12 weeks.
Light sweet crude for February delivery declined by 76 cents to settle at $60.34 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, where natural gas futures declined by 27.5 cents to settle at $5.838 per 1,000 cubic feet.
The last time natural gas futures settled below $6 was Oct. 13, when prices ended at $5.66.
The last time crude oil futures settled below $61 was Nov. 28, when prices ended at $60.99.
In London, Brent crude futures fell 58 cents to settle at $60.52 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
Analysts expect the mild weather to keep energy prices under downward pressure for another couple of weeks.
"The way it looks now, this may continue to be a feature through at least mid-January," said Citigroup's Tim Evans.
Prices slid last week as brokers weighed slower economic growth and expectations of a mild winter against OPEC's determination to tighten up worldwide supplies.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said earlier this month that it plans to reduce output by an additional 500,000 barrels a day beginning in February. That comes on top of a previously announced cut of 1.2 million barrels per day.
This week, traders are looking ahead to the weekly inventory report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. According to a survey by Dow Jones Newswires, crude oil stocks are expected to decline, while distillate and gasoline stocks should rise. The report will be issued Thursday, a day later than normal due to the Christmas holiday.
U.N. sanctions against Iran that were approved over the weekend could also raise concerns about supply in 2007, though traders so far appear to have shrugged off the continuing dispute over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
Iran has vowed to continue uranium enrichment despite the U.N. economic sanctions that were aimed at forcing a rollback in its nuclear program.
On Wednesday, Iran's parliament voted to urge the government to "revise" ties with the U.N. nuclear agency but stopped short of recommending a severing of relations.
In other Nymex trading, heating oil futures fell 1.45 cent to settle at $1.6088 a gallon, and unleaded gasoline futures gained 1.53 cent to settle at $1.5875 a gallon.


Updated : 2021-03-01 10:04 GMT+08:00