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The Wall Street Journal: Crude-Oil Prices Near $60 On Concerns About Nigeria

By MASOOD FARIVAR
February 17, 2007; Page B4

Oil futures rallied 2.4% and climbed above $59 after the government warned about more militant attacks in Nigeria and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ secretary-general said producers were showing compliance with the group’s new oil-production target.

The rally followed a volatile week in oil markets and came as traders closed bets on lower prices ahead of the long weekend. Floor trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange is closed Monday for Presidents Day, but electronic trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s Globex platform will be available.

The front-month March crude-futures contract on the Nymex jumped $1.40 to $59.39 a barrel, a sharp recovery from its intraday low of $57.59 a barrel. The contract expires Tuesday.

In other commodity news:

EXCHANGES: A lobby group representing users of the futures markets released a statement Friday expressing concern about the announced merger between the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and CBOT Holdings Inc.’s Chicago Board of Trade.

The two futures exchanges — the largest providers of exchange-traded financial-derivative contracts — would combine to create CME Group and have a commanding market share of more than 85% of the market for U.S. futures-exchange trading, said the Futures Industry Association.

The FIA said the announced deal — while creating possible cost savings — “would concentrate significant market power…substantially lessen competition…and raise even higher the barriers to entry for new competitors.” The FIA said the emergence of new competition may “overcome the anti-competitive effects of the merger.”

The CME said in a statement that its merger “increases competition in the global derivatives marketplace and better positions the U.S. to compete.”

CORN: Prices on the CBOT climbed as the market reacted to a private weather company’s forecast that wet weather in the spring could delay corn plantings and may be followed by dryness during the summer that could impede growth. Nearby March corn rose 9.5 cents to $4.17 a bushel.

COFFEE: Prices on the New York Board of Trade fell because of an increase in U.S. stocks of unroasted coffee beans. The March contract closed down 2.1 cents to $1.1320 a pound.

–Aaron Lucchetti contributed to this article.

Write to Masood Farivar at [email protected]

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