A day after modest losses, U.S. crude oil futures for August on Tuesday slipped slightly but still remained close to the $41 a barrel level as prices teeter-tottered.
West Texas Intermediate crude dropped a penny or 0.02% and settled at $40.62 a barrel in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Experts blamed the downturn on continuing worries of the coronvirus pandemic.
However, there is apparent optimism that this week’s report on U.S. crude inventories will also show a decline for a second consecutive week.
Global benchmark Brent oil for September dropped 2 cents or 0.05% to $43.08 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration is expected to release a report on Wednesday about demands covering the weekend ended July 3.
On average, the EIA is expected to report a decline of 3.7 million barrels in crude stockpiles for last week, according to analysts polled by S&P Global Platts reported Market Watch. That would mark a second-straight weekly fall. They also forecast supply declines of 1.2 million barrels for gasoline and 500,000 barrels for distillates.
On Nymex Tuesday, August gasoline rose 2.8% to $1.275 a gallon, but August heating oil shed 0.1% to $1.2433 a gallon.
August natural gas settled at $1.876 per million British thermal units, up 2.5%.
For natural gas, “weather remains a key supportive factor over the short and medium-term, with most forecast models showing a strong probability of above average temperatures,” said Fraser, in a daily note. “That would in turn boost natural gas demand from the power generation sector.”
In a monthly report ahead of Wednesday’s weekly EIA data, the government agency lifted 2020 and 2021 forecasts for Brent and WTI oil, and U.S. crude production.
Some of the local oil and gas stocks of interest also experienced declines in Tuesday’s trading. SandRidge Energy dropped 4.62% or 6 cents a share before settling at $1.24.
Devon Energy was down 7.26% or 81 cents to end the day at $10.35. ConocoPhillips dropped 2.38% or 99 cents to reach $40.64.
EOG Resources dropped 4.57% or $2.30 a share before finishing at $48.11. Marathon Oil fell 4.95% or 29 cents to hit $5.47.
ONEOK dropped 71 cents or 2.51% and settled at $27.58. Phillips 66 fell $3.48 a share or 5.12% and ended at $64.61.
On the Utilities Sector, American Electric Power gained 27 cents or 0.32% to reach $82.39 for the day.