Commodities : Oil Futures Prices Erratic

From Associated Press

Oil futures prices went through convulsive swings Tuesday on crude production reports coming in from overseas and yanked interest rate futures along a similarly chaotic path.

Oil prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange opened higher with the belief that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, meeting in an emergency session in Geneva, was moving closer to some type of agreement on limiting production, said Andrew Lebow, an analyst in New York with Shearson Lehman Bros.

Then the news came that British Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson told the House of Commons that Great Britain definitely is not cutting production, once again confirming an unwillingness to cooperate with OPEC to raise prices.

"The (futures) market dropped like a rock" on Lawson's comments, Lebow said.

Oil futures came back up at the close, with some analysts attributing it to yet another rumor that OPEC members may be nearing an agreement among themselves.

"It was a very, very active, wild close," said Peter Beutel, an analyst in New York with Rudolf Wolff Energy.

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