Tuesday, March 20, 2012

crude oil futures prices march 21 2012

crude oil futures prices march 21 2012 ; U.S. crude futures nursed losses to trade below $107 a barrel in early Wednesday trade in Asia, after Saudi Arabia helped push oil 2 percent lower in the previous session with comments that it was prepared to meet any supply shortfall.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, U.S. light, sweet crude [CLCV1 106.63 0.56 (+0.53%) ]gained 35 cents a barrel to trade at $106.42 as of 0011 GMT after settling down 2.3 percent at $106.07 a barrel.

London Brent [LCOCV1 124.47 0.35 (+0.28%) ] gained 13 cents a barrel to $124.25. In the previous session, it settled at $124.12 a barrel, down $1.59 on the day and off earlier lows of $123.20.

Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said the kingdom was pumping 9.9 million barrels per day, the most in decades and supplying every customer request, adding the country was willing to turn the taps to the maximum 12.5 million bpd immediately if needed.

The market's heavy losses were pared slightly after U.S. inventory data from the American Petroleum Institute showed an unexpected 1.4-million-barrel decline in crude stockpiles last week. The market will now await inventory data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday for confirmation of the drawdown.

France and Germany oppose a release of oil reserves, officials from both countries said.

Venezuela's Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said thata U.S. and British plan to tap strategic oil reserves was unsustainable in the long term and would only have a limited impact on prices.

The United States on Tuesday exempted Japan and 10 EU nations from financial sanctions because they have significantly cut purchases of Iranian crude oil, but left Iran's top customers China and India exposed to the possibility of such steps.

Technical problems have halted exports from Iraq's new oil export terminal for the past week after it loaded 2 million barrels of oil on a tanker, the terminal's first ship, which marked a major increase in export capacity.

Rebel fighters fled the eastern Syrian city of Deir al-Zor in the face of a fierce army assault, as Russia issued its toughest criticism yet of President Bashar al-Assad's handling of the year-long revolt.

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