Saturday, December 31, 2005

Oil is Up; Welcome '06

Oil Rises, Gasoline Jumps to 2-Month High, on Motor-Fuel Supply

Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rose and gasoline surged to a two-month high on concern that U.S. supplies of the motor fuel will be insufficient to meet demand next year. ``Gasoline has led us higher this week and that should continue to be the case,'' said James Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, a Galena, Illinois-based researcher. ``There is a small supply deficit, a lot of refineries have scheduled maintenance early next year and imports are beginning to trail off. The gasoline market is going to shine in 2006.''

Gasoline supplies plunged 1.2 million barrels last week, the Energy Department reported yesterday. Stockpiles of the fuel were 4.5 million barrels, or 2.2 percent, below the five-year average for the date, the department said. Refineries delayed maintenance this fall because hurricanes shut facilities along the Gulf of Mexico.
Crude oil for February delivery rose 72 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $61.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest close since Dec. 13. Prices climbed 4.5 percent this week.

Gasoline for January delivery jumped 5.76 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $1.71 a gallon in New York, the highest close since Oct. 18. Futures touched $1.72 a gallon, the highest intraday price since Oct. 19. Gasoline rose to a record $2.92 a gallon on Aug. 31. Prices advanced 10 percent this week and 57 percent this year.

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