Commodity Corner: NYMEX Crude Stays Below $100



April crude oil gained 60 cents Friday to settle at $97.88 a barrel.

On the day after hitting its highest point in 30 months, front-month crude managed to stay below $100 during the fourth and final session of a trading week shortened by the President's Day holiday. Although Friday's rise in the futures price stems largely from the ongoing unrest in Libya and sharply lower oil production in the North African country, recent pledges by Saudi Arabia to compensate for the Libyan shortfall appear to have injected some stability into the market.

Crude oil traded within a range from $96.17 to $99.20. Compared to Tuesday's settlement, oil is up 4.6 percent for the week.

Natural gas for April delivery rose by 13 cents Friday to settle at $4.005 per thousand cubic feet. Gas recovered as a result of below-normal temperatures predicted for the Northeast and Midwest through next week.

Front-month natural gas peaked at $4.04 and bottomed out at $3.83 Friday. The April contract is up 2.4 percent for the week. The March gasoline contract ended the day two cents higher Friday at $2.74 a gallon. It fluctuated from $2.70 to $2.75 during the trading session. Gasoline is up 5.4 percent for the week.