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Oil prices slightly higher after slide in previous session, still weighed by market worries

Oil prices slightly higher after slide in previous session, still weighed by market worries

Oil prices rose slightly Friday after an overnight slide but were still weighed down by economic concerns and declines in stock markets.
Light, sweet crude for September delivery rose 4 cents to US$71.04 a barrel in Asian electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, mid-afternoon in Singapore.
Earlier in Asia, news of a U.S. refinery fire helped push crude futures as high as US$71.88, recovering some of the ground lost Thursday in the U.S. But the Tokyo benchmark Nikkei 225 stock index nose-dived 5.4 percent Friday, and regional markets and oil followed.
"The concerns over the U.S. housing markets and credit markets have caused some liquidation in crude oil futures and that's the key reason for the recent fall in crude oil pricing," said Victor Shum, an energy analyst with Purvin & Gertz in Singapore.
"If concerns about the U.S. housing markets turn out to be short-lived, then the dips in crude oil futures markets could represent buying opportunities. But it's too early to see how serious the credit squeeze problems really are."
Thursday, the Nymex crude contract fell US$2.33 to settle at US$71 a barrel as investors turned their attention to the cooling U.S. economy and falling stock market. In the U.S., the stock market tumbled in intraday trading as concerns about economic conditions were exacerbated by more bad news from the mortgage sector, and by dismal reports on housing construction and employment.
Wall Street pulled off a dramatic late-session turnaround to close mixed after bargain hunters lured by weeks of massive declines came back to the stock market. The Dow Jones industrials, down more than 340 points in afternoon trading, ended the day with a loss of just 16 points
A fire broke out Thursday at a crude unit of Chevron's largest U.S. refinery in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Emergency response teams have contained the fire, Chevron said in a statement posted on the company's Web site.
"Refineries in all key markets such as the U.S., Asia and Western Europe are fully utilized, and so any hiccup in the global refining system such as a fire would cause some temporary tightness in the product market so that would support strong pricing," Shum said.
Weather concerns also continued to support oil futures, Shum said.
Market participants were closely eyeing Hurricane Dean, which was bearing down on the Caribbean from the central Atlantic, and Tropical Depression Erin, which was downgraded from tropical storm status after making landfall in Texas early Thursday morning.
Erin appeared to spare most Gulf Coast oil and gas infrastructure. Valero Energy Corp. said operations were not affected at its Corpus Christi, Texas, refinery. Updated forecasts continued to call for Dean to pass to the south of the Gulf, making landfall on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula.
September Brent crude fell 11 cents to US$69.66 a barrel on the ICE futures exchange in London.
Heating oil futures added 0.23 cents to US$1.9852 a gallon (3.8 liters) while gasoline futures gained 2.17 cents to US$2 a gallon.
Natural gas prices lost 5.5 cents to US$6.82 per 1,000 cubic feet.


Updated : 2021-10-17 20:32 GMT+08:00