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Crude oil prices stay stable between Dec 15 & 30
31
Dec '11
In the last fortnight, Crude oil prices remained stable amid volatility in global markets. In the beginning of the fortnight, crude oil prices declined following to announcement by OPEC to leave production unchanged from current level of 30 million barrels per day including Libyan production.

In the first few days of the fortnight, crude oil prices in Nymex and WTI Cushing were around US$ 93.53/barrel whereas price of Dated Brent was around US$ 104.05/barrel. Price of crude oil remained weak as Paris based rating agency put all countries in Euro region under negative rating watch, as exports from Euro region declined by approximately 1.5 percent in last quarter of 2011.

On other side the US greenback firmed up further and unemployment figures declined to lowest level since May 2008. In Asian market, crude oil price was firm as death of the North Korean leader lead to regional instability. In M E Asian market also, there was fear of disruption in crude oil supply as Iran warned of blocking a key oil shipping route.

Eleven countries including the US, Europe and a few Arab countries discussed fresh sanctions on Iran. They were also concerned about supply constraints. Crude oil prices remained firm by the end of the fortnight, due to encouraging reports from US and emerging markets. In the mid of the fortnight, selling offers for Nymex and WTI Cushing were around US$ 97.25/barrel whereas Dated Brent price hovered around US$ 107.65/barrel.

In the second half of the fortnight, selling offers for crude oil remained firm due to positive economic report from the US and Germany. In the US market, crude oil price speculators blamed drop in stockpiles of US energy reserves, as the reason for firming of prices.

Data released by Chinese Customs confirmed that China imported crude oil at record high levels. In November, China imported crude oil equivalent to 5.54 million barrel/day. In Indian market also, there was a plan to import oil up to 5.33 million tons for strategic oil reserve purpose. Crude oil prices also remained firm due to encouraging reports from the US.

By the end of the fortnight, oil prices jumped high due to Iranian threat to halt flow via vital oil channel. US inventories surged unexpectedly according to EIA. Tensions in Asian region helped to overcome slack prices. Many market experts firmly believed that average oil price will hover around US$ 105/barrel in 2012 but, market experts are still not clear due to impact of Euro zone crisis and slack global demand.

The Euro hit its lowest level in the last fifteen months in the period. News of Italian debt added fuel to ongoing European debt crisis and made the global economy shaky.

Editorial Note:
Crude oil market is expected to remain firm in short term future due to optimistic fundamentals.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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