Crude, heating oil futures rise on forecasts for chilly U.S. Northeast

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The prospect of chilly temperatures in the northeastern United States gave the price of oil a boost Monday.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude rose 58 cents to finish at $94.15 a barrel in New York.

Recently temperatures have been above normal in the U.S. Northeast, but now are expected to drop through this weekend and into next week. Just six per cent of America’s households use heating oil, but they tend to be in some of the coldest parts of the country, mainly in the Northeast.

The last time crude closed above US$94 in New York was Sept. 18.

After rising more than one per cent on Jan. 2 following a deal in Washington to extend tax cuts for most Americans and postpone drastic spending cuts, oil has had few catalysts to move in any direction. Economic news has been mixed and global supplies appear to be ample, with no major disruptions to production in oil-producing countries.

Traders will weigh some fresh reports this week on the U.S. economy. Jim Ritterbusch, president of energy consultancy Ritterbusch and Associates, wrote in a note to clients that oil could move higher this week if data on U.S. industrial production, housing starts and other indicators show the economy is getting stronger.

Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, gained $1.24 to finish at US$111.88 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, wholesale gasoline rose one cent to end at US$2.75 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres) and natural gas rose 4.6 cents to finish at US$3.37 per 1,000 cubic feet (28.32 cubic metres), continuing a rally from late last week.