Wednesday, July 8, 2009

>Crude drifts below USD64/bbl on economy, demand

Singapore - Crude oil futures drifted below USD64 a barrel in Asia Tuesday, as the market continued to be plagued by economy and demand worries.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in August traded at USD63.94 a barrel at 0654 GMT, down 11 cents in the Globex electronic session. August Brent crude on London's ICE Futures exchange fell 9 cents to USD63.96 a barrel.

There is "no news pushing it (oil) will probably drift or move lower," before the latest U.S. inventories data are out, said David Moore, a commodities strategist with Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires said they expect the forthcoming Energy Information Administration data will show crude stockpiles likely fell by 1.9 million barrels last week, while gasoline stockpiles climbed by 800,000 barrels and distillates rose by 1.7 million barrels.

A series of bearish U.S. consumer and labor data recently released has renewed demand worries for oil products, pushing Nymex crude futures to close at $64.05 in the previous session, the lowest settlement since May 27.

The U.S. Labor Department said unemployment in June hit a 26-year high of 9.5%, which some analysts said may signal weak gasoline demand in summer. Fewer people in employment means less commuting and less money to spend on vacations and trips to stores.

"The momentum has really turned around...the market is trying to go back to fundamentals," said Christoffer Moltke-Leth, head of sales trading of Saxo Capital Markets.

Oil prices might move lower before finding some support around USD60 a barrel, he added.

Technical charts also suggest further falls to USD62.00 in coming days if prices stay below USD68.90. On oil's daily continuation chart, the technical picture is negative-biased as the slow stochastic and Moving Average Convergence/Divergence, or MACD, indicators are bearish.

Meanwhile, the five- and 15-day moving averages are falling, suggesting a downward move is under way.

Nymex reformulated gasoline blend stock for August, the benchmark contract, rose 11 points to 174.15 cents a gallon, while August heating oil traded at 163.00 cents, 34 points higher.

ICE gasoil for July changed hands at USD514.00 a metric ton, down USD3.25 from Monday's settlement.