(Aug 2 2o12)
Despite a relatively rough month in the commodities markets in general, oil prices managed to close higher. It was not a smooth ride, however; as disappointing macroeconomic data caused oil to go on some steep price corrections. One of oil’s biggest slides was at the end of the month when soubts about a potential stimulus from central banks sent crude-oil futures fell to a more than two-week low. On the 31st, crude for September delivery declined $ 1.9%, to $88.06 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was oil’s lowest settlement since mid-July. Despite the price slide, oil futures gained 3.6% over the month. . Limiting the downside for oil on the 31st, the other commodities all took a hit from the Central Bank disappointment, was the fact that the crude weekly inventories declined 11.6 million barrels in the week ended July 27, according to the American Petroleum Institute, a far greater decline than the 1.6 million barrel decline that analysts polled by Platts had forecast. The spread between West Texas Intermediate and Brent Crude widened further this month, The difference between the two grades increased $1.72 to $18.77 a barrel based on September settlement prices, the widest spread since May 16.