NYMEX distillate futures were up by more than 1% at midday Thursday, on track for a fourth straight day of gains, while crude oil contracts were modestly lower on a stronger dollar and expectations that U.S. interest rates will stay higher for longer.

The NYMEX July ULSD contract was up by 3.55cts to $2.476/gal as of 11:45 a.m. ET and the August contract was 3.2cts higher at $2.487/gal.

Gasoline contracts were up fractionally, with the NYMEX July RBOB contract 0.3ct higher at $2.3975/gal and August RBOB up by 0.1ct to $2.3845/gal.

The NYMEX July West Texas Intermediate contract was off 40cts to $78.1/bbl and the August WTI contract was down by the same amount to $77.75/bbl.

London-based ICE Brent crude for August delivery was 40cts lower at $82.20/bbl and the September Brent contract was 35cts lower at $81.80/bbl.

A stronger dollar, which makes oil more expensive for investors holding non-U.S. currencies, weighed on crude futures. In addition, declines in equity markets reduced investor appetite for riskier energy commodities.

The government Thursday morning said U.S. producer prices fell in May in part on lower energy prices. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the producer price index fell by 0.2% last month following a 0.5% increase in April.

The data came a day after the Federal Reserve said it would likely move to cut interest rates only once this year.

The first signs of what government and private forecasters are expecting will be a well-above-normal Atlantic hurricane season came Thursday when the National Hurricane Center said it was monitoring two low-pressure systems - one off the East Coast of Florida and the other in the southwest Gulf of Mexico - that could develop into the tropical cyclones.

Tropical storms along the Gulf Coast can reduce fuel production in the refinery rich region and storms in populated areas can depress fuel demand.

   --Reporting by Frank Tang, ftang@opisnet.com; Editing by Jeff Barber,   jbarber@opisnet.com 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

06-13-24 1247ET