Brent oil futures close off Friday’s trading session firm at $114 a barrel, a bullish week for the European oil contract as Greece debt and referendum calls put the EU’s bailout plans in jeopardy and sent shock wave’s through stock markets.
Brent Oil Futures – Closing Price
ICE Brent crude oil futures for December 2011 delivery ended the week’s trading session at $114.45 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange, trading 1.5 percent higher at close yesterday.
Brent oil futures closed last week’s session (Friday 28th October) at $110.05 a barrel.
Greece and The Markets
This morning Greek PM George Papandreou is facing a major challenge in his efforts to form a government of national unity to handle the country’s debt crisis after his governing Socialist party narrowly won a vote of confidence on Friday night, which had placed a vital EU bailout in jeopardy.
It is looking increasingly unlikely that Mr Papandreou will lead a coalition, with reports emerging that Finance Minister Venizelos could be named as an interim prime minister.
Earlier this week he shocked EU partners and sent stock markets into turmoil after calling for a referendum on the hard fought EU deal struck last month to great fanfare.
Stock Markets See Saw
Stock markets around the world have see sawed higher and lower as the drama in Europe continues to have investors on edge, however Brent oil closed up $4 higher than the same time last week.
“There is just a lot of money on the sidelines because nobody knows what to do, and the markets are getting swung around on pretty insignificant volume. I don’t think there’s any long-term money going in any particular direction right now.” said Bill O’Grady, chief market strategist at Confluence Investment Management.
“Oil prices are consolidating gains, although today there are some uncertainties the confidence vote in the Greek parliament and what happens to the next tranche disbursement if there is a negative outcome. All this may keep a lid on oil prices.” said Commerzbank’s Carsten Fritsch.
Brent’s premium to its US counterpart strengthened, moving back above $17 a barrel.
Crude oil trading volumes were light on Friday, with Brent oil futures 25 percent below its 30 day average and US WTI crude oil futures 31 percent below its 30 day average. Both were under a half million lots traded.