Thanks to positive retail sales data from the U.S. Department of Commerce and lackluster figures from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the price of crude oil for December delivery remained largely unchanged Monday.
Oil settled at $84.86 a barrel, a two-cent drop from Friday, after trading within a range from $84.48 to $85.77.
The Commerce Department's Census Bureau announced that U.S. retail sales increased by 1.2 percent in October, exceeding private-sector expectations and the strongest increase since March 2010. Also, the bureau announced that motor vehicle sales rose by 5 percent last month.
Countering the news from the Census Bureau, however, was a New York Fed report observing deteriorating conditions in November for manufacturers in New York State. The Fed's Empire State Manufacturing Survey found a steep decline in general business conditions, plummeting new orders, and a decrease in shipments.
December natural gas received a boost from the Census Bureau's retail sales statistics, however. Gas settled nearly a nickel higher to end the day at $3.845 per thousand cubic feet. Natural gas peaked at $3.87 and bottomed out at $3.71.
Despite the positive motor vehicle sales numbers, front-month gasoline fell nearly two cents to settle at $2.195 a gallon. December gasoline traded from $2.21 to $2.25.
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