ISSN: 2056-3736 (Online Version) | 2056-3728 (Print Version)


Crude-oil futures were lower in Asian trading hours Monday, extending a weekly loss as oil markets appeared less concerned about a disruption to Iraqi oil supply in the near term. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in August traded at $105.45 a barrel at 0452 GMT, down $0.29 in the Globex electronic session. August Brent crude on London’s ICE Futures exchange fell $0.29 to $113.01 a barrel.

Both the global oil benchmarks posted losses last week, after having risen for two consecutive weeks on the back of the Iraqi insurgency that threatens 2.5-2.6 million barrels a day of Basrah Light exports out of southern Iraq, the second-largest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Front-month ICE Brent crude prices have risen by $5 from a $105-$110 range to a higher $110-115 range since the violence in Iraq began escalating.

Brent will remain within the $110-115 price range through this summer, and possibly longer, which also means that “there is upside risk to our entire set of forecasts for regional crude and product prices” Michael Wittner, head of oil markets research at Societe Generale said in a report.

“We believe that there will be an extended period, lasting perhaps 1 or 2 years, of de-facto sectarian civil war in Iraq,” he said, adding that intermittent supply disruptions of up to 0.5 million barrels a day could push Brent higher to the $120-125 range.

Over the weekend, Iraqi government forces began an offensive to retake control of the city of Tikrit, but were locked in a standoff with insurgents.

Later this week, economic data releases from the U.S. and China will drive financial markets. U.S. markets will shut on July 4 for the Independence Day holiday.

Nymex reformulated gasoline blendstock for July–the benchmark gasoline contract–fell 57 points to $3.0931 a gallon, while July heating oil traded at $2.9934, 42 points lower.

ICE gasoil for July changed hands at $918.50 a metric ton, down $2.25 from Friday’s settlement.

By Eric Yep