Crude oil futures shed losses as gasoline futures recover
BY DAVID BIRD
NEW YORK – Crude oil futures prices shed early losses and were little changed Friday as gasoline futures rallied in the last hour of trading ahead of a three-day weekend.
The move is somewhat of a repeat of Thursday, when prices climbed back from steep losses to end little changed on the day.
In both cases, a rebound in the price of reformulated gasoline blendstock futures pulled crude up. Traders said gasoline is finding favor on hopes of a strong start to the peak driving season--kicked off by the Memorial Day holiday celebrated Monday.
Despite the late perk up, oil prices are constrained by worries over high inventories and sluggish demand in the U.S., the world' s biggest oil consumer.
Inventories of gasoline rose by a hefty 3 MMbbl last week, government data show, suggesting supplies are more than adequate to meet any rise in demand.
Light, sweet crude for July delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange recently traded down 11 cents at $94.14/gal, after recently edging higher on the day. Prices are up strongly from an earlier low of $93.04/bbl.
June-delivery RBOB gasoline futures were up 0.79 cent, at $2.836/gal, after trading in a range of $2.80-$2.8434/gal. Prices still are off sharply from the five-week high near $2.91/gal set last Friday.
Dow Jones Newswires