Commodity Corner: Crude Up 4% for The Week



Oil prices climbed higher Friday on optimistic U.S. economic data counterbalancing China's bank-reserve ratios.

Front-month crude gained 0.2 percent, or 14 cents, settling at $91.54 a barrel Friday. The U.S. Department of Labor reported moderate inflation in consumer prices. Meanwhile, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index increased by 8 points ending Friday at 1291.76, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 54.19 points to 11,786.09.

Analysts anticipate oil prices to reach $100 a barrel this year as forecasts predict Chinese consumption of refined products to increase by 4.8 percent, according to the International Energy Agency. After the U.S., China is the world's second-largest oil consumer.

Crude futures fluctuated between $90.10 and $91.69 Friday. Crude gained 4 percent for the week, the most since Dec. 3.

Natural gas futures also rose Friday, settling at $4.48 per thousand cubic feet. The 7.3-cent gain came as forecasts predict cooler temperature for the next two weeks. Due to high stockpiles, analysts believe a few weeks of colder-than-average temperatures may shift prices out of its range.

Natural gas gained 1.3 percent for the week, after peaking at $4.496 and bottoming out at $4.367 Friday.

Gasoline for February delivery reached its highest since Oct. 2008 at $2.495 a gallon. The intraday range for gasoline was $2.449 to $2.496.

The New York Mercantile Exchange will be closed Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday