Money Matters - Simplified

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Energy

Ouch! That Bites!

You've probably read that food and energy prices rose 4.1% last year, but did you hear about these specific price hikes?

Energy commodities start down, close down

New York -- Crude oil prices fell for a second straight day Wednesday after a government report showed crude inventories in the United States rose more than expected.

The price for crude oil fell $1.79 to $90.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday inventories rose for the first time in nine weeks, up by 4.3 million barrels to 287.1 million barrels for the week ending Jan. 11.

"If there were any bears still left in hibernation this report should bring them out," James Williams, an economist at energy research firm WTRG Economics, told MarketWatch. "For a week the petroleum market has been trading down on fear of a recession. This report adds to that."

Also on the exchange, natural gas lost 5.5 cents to $8.141 per million British thermal units. Gasoline fell 5.48 cents to $2.2544 a gallon while heating oil slipped 4.94 cents to $2.4978 a gallon.

Oil inventories up by 4.3 million barrels

Washington -- Crude oil inventories in the United States rose by 4.3 million barrels for the week ending Jan. 11, a government agency said.

At 287.1 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories were in the lower half of the average range for this time of year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported in a news release.

Motor gasoline inventories increased by 2.2 million barrels during the latest reporting period, and are near the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and gasoline blending component inventories were higher last week.

Distillate fuel inventories increased by 1.1 million barrels, the EIA reported. Propane and propylene inventories fell by 2.5 million barrels.

Total commercial petroleum stockpiles grew by 3.6 million barrels, the agency said.

Energy commodities begin session down

New York -- Four energy commodities began Wednesday's trading session lower on the New York Mercantile Exchange with oil dropping to less than $91 a barrel.

Crude oil was off $1.03, trading for $90.87 a barrel in midmorning trading. Heating oil was down 0.0249 cents, at $2.5223 a gallon.

Gasoline was at $2.2818, off 0.0274 cents. Natural gas was trading at $8.121, down 0.075 cents.

At the pump, the average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline was $3.054 Wednesday, down from $3.061 reported Tuesday by the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International.

Crude oil falls ahead of inventory report

New York, D.C. -- Crude oil prices fell Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, on fears of an economy heading for a recession and expectations of high oil inventories.

Crude oil tumbled $3.21 to $90.99 a barrel, the lowest level in more than three weeks.

Oil is falling because of "recession worries," Zachary Oxman, senior trader at Wisdom Financial, told MarketWatch. "When any sort of economic concerns come out, the fear is that U.S. consumers are going to demand less oil."

The U.S. Energy Information Administration will report last week's U.S. crude inventories Wednesday and analysts said they expect the stockpile to increase, rather than decrease as it has for more than two months.

Gasoline fell 8.26 cents to $2.2902 a gallon and February heating oil dipped 5.99 cents to $2.5293 a gallon. Natural gas fell by 26.3 cents to $8.09 per million British thermal units.

Crude, gasoline, natural gas open lower

New York, D.C -- Crude oil began Tuesday's trading off 59 cents to less than $94 a barrel after ending up more than a $1 the day before on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The price for a barrel of crude oil was trading at $93.61 early Tuesday on the exchange.

Gasoline and natural gas also began the day lower. Gasoline was off 0.0091 cents at $2.3637 a gallon while natural gas was down 0.054 cents at $8.299 per million British thermal units.

Heating oil was up 0.0015 cents at $2.5907 in early morning trading.

At the pump, the average cost of a gallon of unleaded gasoline was $3.06, compared to $3.07 on Monday as reported by the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International.

Crude oil rebounds to begin week

New York -- Crude oil trading rebounded Monday, up more than a $1 to $93.75 in morning trading on the New York Mercantile exchange.

The price for a barrel of crude gained $1.06 to trade at $93.75. Prices closed at $92.70 on Friday.

Other energy commodities were up as well in morning trading. Heating oil was up 0.0361 cents per gallon at $2.5720. Gasoline gained 0.0297 cents per gallon at $2.35. Natural gas added 0.21 cents to $8.40 per million British thermal units.

At the pump, the average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline was $3.07, compared to $3.095 reported Friday by the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International.

Russia-Serbia oil deal worries Brussels

Belgrade, Serbia -- The European Commission said it was concerned over Russia's planned acquisition of Serbia's biggest oil and gas company.

Kristina Nagy, spokeswoman for the commission, said the sale of Serbia's state-run NIS oil and gas company should have been transparent and had agreed-upon objective and commercial interests, Belgrade B92 radio reported Friday quoting the BBC.

The Serbian government of nationalist Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica reportedly agreed to sell a majority stake of NIS to Russia's state-run Gazprom company for $590 million. The deal could be signed in coming weeks.

The deal was reached in direct Russian-Serbian talks without any international tender, Belgrade media said.

Serbian experts in Belgrade opposed the deal, arguing the NIS value was much higher.

Oil closes under $93

New York -- Crude oil prices made little headway Friday, closing under $93 a barrel amid continuing worries about a possible recession.

Oil futures for February delivery wound up the day down 1.01 at 92.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Natural gas was down ,08 cent at $8.18 per 1 million British thermal units.

Heating oil closed down 2.09 cents at $2.5364 a gallon.

Rejuvenated gas ended down 4.06 cents at $2.3195 a gallon.

The AAA said the average U.S. price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline at the pump was $3.095, compared to $3.10 Thursday.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International.

Oil prices continue slide

New York -- Crude oil prices dropped another 58 cents to $93.13 a barrel Friday in early electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Prices fell almost $2 a barrel Thursday and closed at $93.71 on growing concerns that a potential economic slowdown would hurt demand.

Remarks by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke promising the central bank would consider substantial interest rate cuts to avoid a recession helped recover some losses.

Natural gas was up 0.06 cents to $8.32 per million British thermal units early Friday.

Heating oil was down 0.91 cents to $2.5482 a gallon. Rejuvenated gas fell 1.76 cents to $2.3425 a gallon.

The AAA said the average U.S. price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline at the pump was $3.095, compared to $3.10 Thursday.