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Oil Prices Rise for Second Straight Day

July 21, 1988

NEW YORK (AP) _ Oil prices rose for a second straight day Thursday on technical factors in the absence of any news to influence trading.

The September contract for the benchmark U.S. crude oil, West Texas Intermediate, rose 34 cents to close at $16.39 a 42-gallon barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Among refined products traded on the exchange, the contract for August delivery of unleaded gasoline picked up 1.25 cents to close at 52.10 cents a gallon, while August home heating oil rose 0.88 cent to 45.53 cents a gallon.

Prices had moved out of a prolonged slump on Wednesday amid reports about the proposed cease-fire between Iran and Iraq and the possibility of a meeting of OPEC’s pricing committee.

But there were no new developments to affect trading Thursday, said Jim Fiedler, a vice president at E.D.&F. Man International Futures Inc.

″You’re having a technical correction to a bear market,″ Fiedler said.

Most traders are bullish for the short-term because of the prospect of peace in the Persian Gulf, Fiedler said. They believe an end to the 8-year-old war will remove the threat of oil supplies being interrupted by the hostilities.

In the long-term, Fiedler said, many traders are bearish because both countries could step up oil production - adding to the glut on worldwide markets - as they try to repair their economies following the war.

Fiedler described the market as nervous in advance of a possible Aug. 3 meeting of officials of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to discuss pricing and production levels.

In June, OPEC oil ministers extended until the end of the year their existing pricing and production agreement. The cartel’s members already were exceeding quotas contained in the agreement before its extension, and have continued to exceed them since their meeting.

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