Oil market opens week's trading with slight rise

Oil prices were up Monday as the market opened after a US long weekend, but stayed within the range of the last eight weeks because there were no geopolitical or weather factors driving prices. Light sweet crude for January delivery rose 31 cents to US$59.55 a barrel in midmorning Asian electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Trading was light last week, with floor trading closed for two days due to the US Thanksgiving holiday. Oil prices have fallen by about 23 percent since hitting an all-time trading high above US$78 a barrel in mid-July. They haven't settled above US$62 a barrel since Oct. 1, despite the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' announcement in mid-October that it would reduce output by 1.2 million barrels a day. Skepticism that OPEC members are committing to production cuts, as well as milder-than-normal US temperatures this fall, have moderated prices. In other Nymex trading, heating oil gained 1.77 cent to US$1.6842 per gallon, unleaded gasoline fell 0.73 cent to US$1.5815, and natural gas rose 18.2 cents to US$7.900 per 1,000 cubic feet.