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Funds News

NYMEX-Crude ends down as options roil, dollar gains

 * China 1st-quarter growth fastest since 2007
 * U.S. jobless claims up, industrial output rises
 * Coming up: Housing starts, consumer mood data Friday
 NEW YORK, April 15 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil futures ended
lower on Thursday, roiled by pre-expiry trading on options on
the front-month May crude contract, analysts said.
 The downturn follows a 2 percent rally on Wednesday that
was sparked by a surprise crude inventory drawdown and a
bigger-than-expected fall in gasoline stocks.
 The euro snapped a five-day advance against the dollar, on
persistent worries about Greece's fiscal problems. A strong
greenback usually dulls interest in commodities. [USD/]
 U.S. economic data showing an increase in new jobless
claims and a less-than-expected rise in industrial output in
March overshadowed positive economic growth data from China,
which pushed up crude futures early. [ID:nN15325702]
 Other U.S. economic data did not stir oil traders.
 Reports showed expansion in New York state's manufacturing
sector rose to a a six-month high and factory activity in the
U.S. mid-Atlantic region grew in April to the highest level
since December.
 "The main driver in NYMEX front-month crude's weakness is
option's expiration on the May contract. There's a lot of open
interest in the $85 and $86 calls and so the market is pinned
at this point and in a holding pattern," said Richard
Ilczyszyn, senior market strategist at Lind-Waldock in
Chicago.
 "After the options are dealt with today, I expect a further
retest of crude's highs in pre-weekend trading on Friday," he
added.
 The Brent May crude contract expired, with the premium over
NYMEX front-month contract, now on its fourth consecutive day,
shooting up to $1.66. For a FACTBOX on factors pushing Brent's
premium to WTI, see [ID:nN12201326]
 This developed as U.S. cash crudes strengthened sharply in
early trading on Thursday as the West Texas Intermediate-Brent
arbitrage and the WTI contango widened. [ID:nN15234230]
 China chalked up unexpectedly strong annual economic growth
of 11.9 percent in the first quarter, fastest rate of expansion
since 2007.  [ID:nTOE63D091]
 The euro was on track for its biggest one-day fall in three
weeks against the U.S. dollar as the cost of insuring against a
Greek default rose, underscoring persistent concerns about
Greece's ability to service its debt. [USD/]
 On Wall Street, equities edged up as transportation shares
gained, but the jobless claims data limited the advance. [.N]
 PRICES
 * On the New York Mercantile Exchange, May CLK0 crude
settled down 33 cents, or 0.38 percent, at $85.51 a barrel,
trading from $85.27 to $86.27. NYMEX May crude expires on April
20.
 * In London, May Brent crude LCOK0 ended up $1.02, or
1.18 percent, at $87.17 a barrel, the highest since front-month
Brent closed at $90.25 on Oct. 2, 2008. It traded from $86.10
to $87.58, highest since the intraday peak of $87.99 on Oct. 7,
2008.
 * NYMEX May RBOB RBK0 closed down 0.65 cent, or 0.28
percent, at $2.3262 a gallon, trading from $2.2936 to $2.3520.
 * NYMEX May heating oil HOK0 ended down 1.02 cents, or
0.45 percent, at $2.2523 a gallon, trading from $2.2064 to
$2.2620.
 * The May/May heating oil crack spread <0#CL-HO=R> ended at
$9.09, up from Wednesday's $8.33. The May/May RBOB crack spread
<0#RB-CL=R> ended at $12.19, inching up from Wednesday's
$12.13.
 * The spread between the current front month and the
five-year forward crude contract CLc61 ended at $8.48,
widening from Wednesday's $7.21. The May 2015 contract settled
Thursday at $93.99, up 94 cents, or 1.01 percent.
 MARKET NEWS
 * Venezuela's Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said OPEC will
not increase petroleum output to bring down costs, even though
oil prices have been hovering near 18-month highs.
[ID:nN15237215]
 * OPEC would make a decision on an output boost to calm oil
prices, if the they passed $100 a barrel, Kuwait's oil minister
said on Thursday. [ID:nLDE63E1DL]
 * Seaborne oil exports by OPEC, excluding Angola and
Ecuador, will rise by 200,000 barrels per day in the four weeks
to May 1, according to a weekly estimate by UK consultancy Oil
Movements. [ID:nWLB2608]
 (Reporting by Gene Ramos and Robert Gibbons; Editing by Lisa
Shumaker)


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