Petroleum futures displayed mixed trends in trading on Friday, with crude oil and gasoline prices seeing an increase, while diesel prices continued to weaken.
Crude Oil Prices Rally, Then Retreat
In early morning trading, oil prices surged, with Brent crude surpassing the $90 per barrel mark. This escalation was a response to the United States launching airstrikes against Iran-backed militias in Syria. However, the gains were short-lived as the contracts eventually retreated.
The volatility observed in the petroleum market could be attributed to relatively light trading volumes. Despite the decline of the dollar, which traditionally has an impact on crude oil prices, its influence has been limited of late.
Crude Oil Market Figures
At noon ET, the NYMEX December West Texas Intermediate contract rose to $84.07 per barrel after hitting a peak of $95.35 per barrel earlier in the morning session. Simultaneously, the December Brent contract recorded a gain of 90 cents, reaching $88.83 per barrel, while the January contract increased by 68 cents to $87.73 per barrel.
Gasoline Futures Experience Ups and Downs
Gasoline futures initially spiked by 6 cents early in the session, surpassing $2.31 per gallon. However, by midday, approximately half of those gains were given back. The NYMEX November RBOB contract was up by 3.16 cents, reaching $2.2877 per gallon, while the more-liquid December contract recorded a 3.46-cent increase at $2.2874 per gallon.
Spot gasoline prices in the United States were predominantly influenced by futures. With NYMEX gains and narrower discounts to futures, Chicago and Gulf Coast CBOB values remained above the $2 per gallon mark.
Diesel Prices Remain Weak
Diesel prices have been on a downward trend despite concerns over tight supply leading into the winter months. Economic uncertainties often manifest in diesel prices, and this particular sector of the petroleum market has struggled.
The NYMEX November ULSD contract experienced a drop of over 6 cents earlier in the session but recovered slightly to trade just under 1 cent lower at $3.037 per gallon. Similarly, the December contract declined by 1.3 cents to $2.9222 per gallon.