Trade Resources Market View NYMEX May Crude Futures Settled 14 Cents Higher at $99.60/Barrel Monday

NYMEX May Crude Futures Settled 14 Cents Higher at $99.60/Barrel Monday

NYMEX May crude futures settled 14 cents higher at $99.60/barrel Monday with investors focusing on the suspension of vessel boardings in the Houston Ship Channel and its possible impact on oil movements in the US Gulf Coast region.

May crude pushed to an intraday high of $100.29/b early in the session.

Houston Ship Channel vessel boardings by pilots were suspended Monday morning due to poor visibility caused by fog, while a portion of the ship channel remained closed early Monday following a barge-ship collision Saturday that caused 168,000 gallons of bunker fuel to spill into the key waterway.

Carl Larry, president of Oil Outlooks, said traders were trying to assess how long vessel boardings would be suspended.

"But as we close the day it looks like traffic could be opened and the markets are reacting accordingly," Larry said, noting the easing of NYMEX crude from the session high.

ICE May Brent settled 11 cents lower at $106.81/b. The price action took the Brent-WTI spread to $7.21/b, down from $7.46/b on Friday.

In refined products, NYMEX April ULSD settled 85 points lower at $2.9116/gal and April RBOB ended 1.7 cents lower at $2.8909/gal.

Addison Armstrong, analyst at Tradition Energy, said crude futures were somewhat limited on the upside after another month of disappointing manufacturing data out of China, where the flash PMI for March printed lower on the month and lower than expectations.

Armstrong added that the flash composite PMI for the eurozone slipped lower, led by an unexpected decline in Germany.

The crisis in the Ukraine was also still in focus, said Mike Fitzpatrick of the Kilduff Report.

"For now, the potential negative impact to the eurozone economy is greater than the fears of a possible disruption to Russian Urals supplies," Fitzpatrick said.

Tim Evans, commodity analyst at Citi Futures Perspective, said the tensions over Russia's annexation of Crimea remain a background influence over trade, although the relatively bearish performance of ICE Brent and European gasoil futures suggests it is not the market's primary concern.

"With US product markets and WTI crude posting a somewhat stronger performance, it looks as though traders are anticipating a further decline in crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery point for NYMEX WTI futures, and further draws from distillate and gasoline inventories for the week ended March 21 to support higher prices," Evans said in a note.

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NYMEX Crude Settles 14 Cents Higher; Focus on Houston Ship Channel
Topics: Chemicals