LONDON) - OIL: spill. Oil prices drifted lower this week as OPEC announced another modest production increase and tension eased slightly in the
OIL: spill. Oil prices drifted lower this week as OPEC announced another modest production increase and tension eased slightly in the Middle East, reducing the threat of interruptions to supplies from the region.
Benchmark Brent North Sea crude oil for delivery in November was selling for 30.70 dollars a barrel in London by Friday afternoon, down from 31.88 dollars last week.
In New York, November light sweet crude was selling for 32.54 dollars a barrel, against 33.71 dollars the previous week.
"The market is down due to the ageement between Israel and the Palestinians," said a dealer with the Credit Lyonnais Rouse brokerage, referring to a truce aimed at ending more than a month of violence.
The clashes had triggered concerns that Arab oil exporters sympathising with the Palestinian cause might use oil as a political lever.
But far from cutting supplies, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which includes major Arab oil producers, said it would increase output by 500,000 barrels a day as part of its price stablisation mechanism.
The market needs all the oil it can get, with reserves still at low levels. There was no relief on this score from US stock levels, which showed crude reserves fell by 750,000 barrels to 281.6 million in the last week in October. This gave prices a midweek lift, but they eased back towards the weekend.
RUBBER: mix. Rubber prices moved in opposite directions again on the London and Kuala Lumpur markets this week, as dealers braced for sales from the International Natural Rubber Organisation (INRO).
The London rubber index for October delivery fell to 51.25 pence per kilo from 54.25 pence the previous week.
In Kuala Lumpur, the RSS1 index rose to 2.51 ringgit from 2.43 ringgit per kilo last week.
The INRO plans to put more than 100,000 tonnes of rubber from its stockpile on the market by March 2001.