Bush Comments Buoy Oil Markets

Thursday, January 18, 2001
U.S. oil prices rose Thursday as traders jumped at buying opportunities after OPEC's agreement on production cuts sent prices falling Wednesday. Crude oil for February delivery traded up 28 cents at $29.88 per barrel early Thursday afternoon on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). "There's a feeling that perhaps we've run the course of the down side and the market could start making a move up, at least for the short term," said Nauman Barakat, vice president of energy futures trading at ABN Amro in New York. NYMEX crude ended 69 cents lower at $29.60 per barrel Wednesday, after moving down more than a dollar as traders pocketed profits. Traders sold off after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to cut output by 1.5 million barrels a day, or more than 5 percent, beginning Feb. 1. Comments by President-elect George W. Bush in an interview with Reuters that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was "a big threat" that must be contained -- by military force if necessary -- also supported prices. NYMEX crude wavered early between positive and negative territory amid confusion over contradictory weekly stocks data.

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