Oil market fluctuates on storm, inventory news

| Thursday, December 01, 2005

The price of crude oil had a bouncy day Thursday, Dec. 1, in response to a storm headed toward the Northeast and the news that natural-gas inventories are slightly lower than expected.

Light, sweet crude was trading at about the $58 mark in midday trading Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The Associated Press reported that a storm expected to drop lots of snow in New England Friday, Dec. 2, kept prices from dipping too much.

Analysts said traders were unsure whether the storm meant sustained cold weather or a temporary chill, and that uncertainty had kept prices between $57 and $58 per barrel for most of the day.

Meanwhile, the Department of Energy reported that inventories of natural gas fell by 49 billion cubic feet for the week ending Nov. 25, more than 2 percent below what they were for the same week in 2004.

This news, combined with rising demand as temperatures drop, could drive oil prices even higher, The AP reported.

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