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Oil Prices Decline

December 30, 1987

NEW YORK (AP) _ Oil futures prices declined in moderate trading Wednesday, with crude oil futures posting marginal losses.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, contracts for February delivery of West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark crude, settled at $16.89 per 42- gallon barrel, down only 4 cents from Tuesday’s close.

A surge in crude prices early in the session was mainly due to the perception that Brent crude from the North Sea is currently in short supply, traders said. But the rally soon fizzled out, they reported.

″The steam simply boiled off very quickly,″ said Bob Baker, an analyst for Prudential-Bache Securities Inc.

The cold snap that has gripped much of the nation failed to boost oil prices, since supplies of heating oil appear to be plentiful and market sentiment remains bearish.

″I think today’s market was a pretty bearish performance,″ said Mary Bergonia, a vice president of E.D.&F. Man International Futures Inc.

Among refined products traded on the exchange, wholesale heating oil for January delivery fell 0.71 cent to close at 51.18 cents a gallon. Wholesale unleaded gasoline for January slipped 0.17 cent to 43.70 cents a gallon.

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