U.S. Cold Weather Fuels Higher Heating Oil Prices

by Freddie Mooche

New York - A cold winter weather streak in the U.S. is fueling higher heating oil prices in New York Wednesday as NYMEX traders eased heating oil prices higher .0105 cents at $1.847 a gallon by late afternoon after reaching $1.90 a gallon in early trading. Crude oil futures for December delivery were off 57 cents, but still over $60 a barrel at $60.80. Natural gas traded down 67 cent per thousand feet at $14.70 and gasoline was down .0049 cents at $1.641.

The upper mid-west region of the U.S. is bracing for a snow storm with a cold snap pushing temperatures down 10 to 20 degrees below normal where Minnesota is expecting as much as 8-inches of snow. On the east coast, where the majority of the US heating oil is consumed, consumers faced an unusually cold week that increased heating oil consumption as much as 30 percent in that region of the U.S. The heating oil consumption in the northeast lowered U.S. heating oil stocks 400,000 barrels.

U.S. government data showed crude oil stocks rose 900,000 barrels, which traders had expected crude oil stocks to have declined, though refineries said that they were using less oil than even they had expected. U.S. refiners reported that they used 89.6 percent of their refining capacity last week, down 1 percent on the week.

Over the next several days, the northeast is expected to see below normal temperatures so heating oil stocks are most likely going to remain lower. That news could pressure heating oil prices to continue rising in New York. In London, Brent crude oil futures were up 62 cents at $60.10, holding demand up after the Hermel oil depot fire this weekend.