Oil Falls as Isaac Slams New Orleans
Bill Lang/Trans Pixs
Oil prices fell to below $96 a barrel Wednesday as analysts saw limited production disruptions even as Hurricane Isaac made landfall into New Orleans overnight, Bloomberg reported.
Crude futures fell 84 cents to finish the trading day at at as $95.49 a barrel after closing Tuesday at $96.33, the highest New York Mercantile Exchange closing price in a week, Bloomberg said.
Also Wednesday, the Department of Energy said in its weekly inventory report that crude supplies rose last week by 3.8 million barrels, compared with the 1.5 million-barrel downturn forecasted by analysts, Bloomberg reported.
Gasoline inventories fell 1.5 million barrels, in line with forecasts, while distillates, which include diesel, rose by almost 1 million barrels, more than the 200,000-barrel increase forecast, Bloomberg said.
Diesel and gasoline retail prices have risen for eight straight weeks, DOE said in its weekly price survey Monday.
Wholesale gasoline prices slipped 1.3% early Wednesday, a day after the motorist group AAA reported a 1.3% increase in retail pump prices to $3.804 a gallon.
Energy companies halted 93% of oil production and 67% of natural-gas output in the Gulf of Mexico as Isaac neared the Louisiana coast, Bloomberg reported.
Six refineries in Louisiana were shut and three were running at reduced rates, idling almost 7% of U.S. capacity, Bloomberg said.
Oil prices also fell after the Group of Seven industrialized nations said that high prices could hurt economic recovery, Bloomberg reported.
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