Oil up slightly as Fed, OPEC, supply data awaited

AP News
Posted: Jul 09, 2013 12:58 PM

Oil followed stocks higher Tuesday as traders awaited news on U.S. crude supplies, OPEC production and the Federal Reserve's monetary policy stance.

Meanwhile, last week's run-up in the price of oil is showing up at the pump. The average price for a gallon of gas rose a penny to $3.48, the first increase in almost a month.

In afternoon trading in New York, benchmark crude for August delivery was up 19 cents at $103.33 a barrel. The price has barely budged this week after rising $6.66, or nearly 7 percent, last week.

Oil was down about 35 cents when U.S. stock markets opened, then pushed higher as stocks rose. The Dow Jones industrial average was up about 80 points to 15,304 in afternoon trading.

Last week, oil was pushed above $100 a barrel for the first time since May 2012 by worries that turmoil in Egypt could disrupt oil and gas shipments through the Suez Canal.

Commerzbank in Frankfurt said in a report that a quick solution to the Egyptian tensions is unlikely. "The situation remains tense in other Middle Eastern countries too, meaning that a lasting risk premium of $5-10 per barrel on the oil price is justified," the bank said.

Later this week, the Energy Department releases its weekly report on supplies of crude oil and petroleum products, the U.S. Federal Reserve releases minutes of its recent policy meeting and OPEC issues its monthly update on the oil market.

A large decline in U.S. supplies, or signs that OPEC decreased output last month could boost prices, analysts say. Additional insight into the Fed's thinking on when it should begin winding down bond purchases that have supported the U.S. economic recovery should also influence trading.

Gasoline is showing the effect of higher oil prices. Gas prices leveled off last week after steadily declining in the second half of June. The average price gained 5 cents or more overnight in Minnesota, Michigan and Missouri. Most other states reported small increases.

Brent crude, which is used to set prices for oil used by many U.S. refineries, was up 8 cents at $107.51 on the ICE exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline was up 3 cents at $2.91 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 10 cents to $3.65 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil was flat at $2.98 per gallon.


Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed to this report.