BEIRUT (AFP) – Oil prices rose Thursday, a day after dropping to the lowest level in a month amid depressed demand for home-heating fuels.
Light sweet crude for February delivery rose 13 cents to $60.47 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 1100 GMT. February Brent crude on London’s ICE Futures exchange rose 8 cents to $60.60 a barrel.
A day earlier, crude futures settled below $61 a barrel for the first time since Nov. 28, when prices ended at $60.99. It was the fourth straight day of falling prices.
Natural gas prices also took a dive from the lessened demand because of mild U.S. weather, settling Wednesday at $5.838 per 1,000 cubic feet, their lowest level in more than 12 weeks.
That price rose 2.8 cents Thursday to $6.170 per 1,000 cubic feet. In other Nymex trading, heating oil rose 0.37 cent to $1.6125 a gallon.
Analysts expect the mild weather to keep energy prices down for another couple of weeks.
“It seems that for all the talk about the OPEC cuts and the geopolitical flare-ups around the world, the weather in the U.S. is the key factor keeping the pressure on prices,” Edward Meir, an analyst at Man Financial, told Dow Jones Newswires.
Prices slid last week as slower economic growth and expectations of a mild winter outweighed OPEC’s determination to tighten up worldwide supplies.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said earlier this month that it plans to reduce output by an additional 500,000 barrels a day beginning in February. That comes on top of a previously announced cut of 1.2 million barrels per day.
On Thursday, traders were looking ahead to the weekly inventory report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. According to a survey by Dow Jones Newswires, crude oil stocks are expected to decline, while distillate and gasoline stocks should rise.