Tuesday, January 6, 2009


RTTNews) - Crude oil surged in Monday''s trading and reached a monthly high. Light sweet crude for February delivery closed at $48.81, up $2.47 on the session, and hit an intraday high of $49.28. Oil gained as Israeli attacks continued on the Gaza strip, increasing fears supplies from the Middle East could be disrupted. According to reports, more than 500 people have been killed in the conflict. Traders also showed confidence president-elect Barack Obama''s stimulus package will boost energy demand. The package under construction by Obama and Democratic congressional leaders could include tax cuts totaling more than $310 billion, according to various media reports on Sunday.Investors began to monitor the impact of production cuts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. On Dec. 17, OPEC announced a cut of 2.2 million barrels per day, effective Jan. 1. The move is in response to rapidly plunging prices amid demand concerns. Wednesday will bring the Energy Information Administration''s latest inventory report. Last week''s data showed crude oil inventories increased 500,000 barrels in the week ended Dec. 26. Analysts predicted a drop of about 1.5 million barrels. However, gasoline inventories increased by 800,000 barrels last week, while analysts were looking for a rise of about 1.5 million barrels in the recent week. Oil lost more than 50% in 2008 amid the global economic crisis that has hindered energy demand. After hitting a record $147.27 on July 11, oil has plunged more than $102 or nearly 70%. At the pump, gasoline prices climbed to $1.672 for a regular unleaded gallon. This is still well-below last year''s mark of $3.104. A month ago, prices stood at $1.751. Crude oil turned sharply higher on Friday on the violence in Gaza and a dispute between Russia and the Ukraine. Light sweet crude finished at $46.34, up $1.74 on the day. Oil fell as low as $41.05 before recovering its slump.For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.comCopyright(c) 2009 RealTimeTraders.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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