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Crude Oil, Natural Gas: Weekly Forecast

We anticipate crude oil to trade lower and natural gas to trade higher this week.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Economic data in the upcoming week may be mixed for crude oil. Momentum indicators suggest that crude oil prices will likely go down this week.

Natural gas may trade lower early this week on cooler weather forecasts. However, natural gas will likely end the week higher, on an increase in industrial output anticipated from U.S. industrial production data.

Crude oil prices traded sideways to higher by gaining as much as 3.1% last week. Crude oil reached a high of $76.30 per barrel and finally settled at $73.78 per barrel. On the weekly charts, crude oil is witnessing resistance at $76.30. Prices are trading below 13, 22 & 45 EMA weekly, implying a bearish view for this week. As per Fibonacci principles, the market is witnessing resistance at the $75.70 level. The momentum indicator, RSI (14) daily, has ascended from 0.20 to 0.45 in a downtrend market, implying prices may again face selling pressure.

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Natural gas traded sideways by witnessing a marginal drop of 0.3% last week. The prices reached a high of $4.995 per MMBtu and finally closed at 4.781 per MMBtu. The momentum indicator, RSI (14) daily, ascended from 0.29 to 0.49 in a downtrend market, implying prices may again face selling pressure. On weekly charts, prices are trading between 13, 22 & 45 EMA, suggesting sideways movement for the week. The leading indicator, stochastic (5, 3) is treading upward (from 0.07 to 0.31), implying prices may get buying at support levels.

Recap of Last Week

Crude Oil

: Early last week, crude oil prices traded steady on concerns about the Euro zone's debt crisis. However, the prices gained slightly following Ben Bernanke's remarks that the economic progress was still intact.

A Department of Energy report indicated that oil and gasoline inventories declined by 1.829 million barrels and 8,000 barrels, respectively, while distillate inventories rose by 1.836 million barrels. The report was mixed for prices as inventories declined lesser than analysts' expectations, while refinery utilization increased unexpectedly.

Crude oil gained after International Energy Agency raised its outlook for world oil consumption to 86.4 million barrels while higher oil imports by China also supported prices to go beyond $75 per barrel.

Later, crude oil traded lower following a data release from the National Bureau of Statistics, which showed Chinese industrial output rising by 16.5%, compared to a year earlier, below analysts' expectations. An unexpected decline in U.S. advance retail sales helped further push down crude oil prices.

Last week, world oil majors

Exxon Mobil

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(CVX) - Get Report



(COP) - Get Report

, and


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gained 3.92%, 3.90%, 6.87% and 4.11%, respectively. In contrast,

British Petroleum

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declined 8.58% on concerns related to the oil spill.

Natural Gas

: Natural gas prices traded higher early last week, on forecasts of hot weather in addition to a fall in rig count in the week before. However, as the week progressed, natural gas gave up some of the gains as weather forecasts changed.

Positive wholesale inventories data helped natural gas trade higher early last week, while an EIA report in the second half of the week showed inventories building up by 99 Bcf, while market expectations stood at 93 Bcf. Prices traded lower on account of an above-average build up in inventories. However, a drastic fall in U.S. continuous claims helped improve the sentiment over the economy and helped prices recover.

Natural gas prices reached a high and low of $5 and $4.63 before closing the week at $4.78 with a weekly decline of 0.33%.