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Natural Gas Plunges As Oil Prices Consolidate

It was a pretty uneventful week in the crude oil market with prices consolidating as investors continued to digest the previous week’s decision by an OPEC-led group of producers to trim output starting in January. The most action in the energy complex was in the natural gas market where sellers took control amid uncertainties and inconsistencies in the medium-term weather forecasts.

Crude Oil

U.S. West Texas Intermediate and international-benchmark Brent crude oil futures are trading lower for the week. An easing of tensions over U.S.-China trade relations helped underpin the markets earlier in the week. However, gains were capped and prices retreated following reports of weaker than expected economic activity in China. These reports raised concerns over future demand from the world’s second-largest economy.

Additionally, it was reported that oil refinery throughput in November in China fell from October, which was the second-highest month on record, suggesting an easing in Chinese oil demand.

Refineries processed 50.46 million tonnes of crude oil last month, or 12.28 million bpd, up 2.9 percent from the same month last year, the National Bureau of Statistics reported. That figure is down from October and from the record of 12.49 million bpd reported in September. Finally, for the first 11 months of the year, refinery output gained 7.2 percent to 554.48 million tonnes, or 12.12 million bpd, on track for an annual record.

Underpinning…

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