Price of oil up despite rise in inventory
NEW YORK - Oil prices rose yesterday despite another government report showing that US crude stockpiles are growing as consumers and business slash spending on energy.
Traders on the New York Mercantile Exchange instead looked to Washington, where the House was expected to approve an $816 billion economic stimulus plan that could help jump-start the ailing economy. The House passed the bill after the markets closed.
Light, sweet crude for March delivery rose 58 cents to settle at $42.16 a barrel in trading on Nymex. The contract fell $4.15 Monday with bad news about housing and jobs sapping consumer confidence.
Gasoline prices, while rising slightly overnight, have plummeted since July with layoffs contributing to a stunning decline in the number of miles logged on American roads.
Yesterday, ConocoPhillips said it lost $31.8 billion in the final three months of 2008.
When the fourth quarter began Oct. 1, crude was trading at around $100 a barrel. By year's end, the price was $44.60.
The Energy Department yesterday provided fresh evidence that energy demand is waning because of the economic crisis. An inventory report showed US commercial crude oil inventories jumped 6.2 million barrels from the previous week, almost twice what was expected.
Crude inventories have grown by more than 20 million barrels in the last month.
Gasoline production fell last week to an average of about 8.8 million barrels per day, down nearly 2 percent from the same period last year, according to the Energy Department report.