Monday, June 29, 2009

Oil drifts below $69 as traders eye US economy

Oil prices drifted below $69 a barrel Monday in Asia as traders look to macroeconomic indicators this week for signs of improvement in the U.S. economy.Benchmark crude for August delivery slipped 40 cents to $68.76 a barrel by midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Friday, it fell $1.07 to settle at $69.16.Oil prices yo-yoed near $70 a barrel last week as investors mulled mixed signals on whether the U.S. economy, the world's largest, is poised to climb out of its worst recession in decades.

Investors will be eyeing economic data this week, including the Labor Department's June unemployment report. The jobless rate hit a 25-year high of 9.4 percent in May, jumping from 8.9 percent the previous month.The latest indicators of consumer confidence and manufacturing will also be released. Crude has doubled since March, leading some analysts to predict oil will pullback until definitive signs of economic growth emerge.

"There's concern about sluggish oil demand," said Victor Shum, an energy analyst with consultancy Purvin & Gertz in Singapore. "Unless we see data that shows a clear economic recovery, prices may have peaked in the short-term.

"The oil price rally is running out of steam."

In other Nymex trading, gasoline for July delivery fell 0.66 cent to $1.87 a gallon and heating oil was steady at $1.73. Natural gas for July delivery plunged 6.8 cents to $4.04 per 1,000 cubic feet. In London, Brent prices fell 42 cents to $68.50 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Taken from Jakartapost

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