Oil futures ended the first day of the week lower as the U.S. Dollar gained strength against other major currencies. A stronger greenback makes oil a less attractive buy for investors holding other currencies.
The price of light sweet crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange settled at $95.15 a barrel, marking a $1.15 slide from the previous trading day. The Brent futures price lost $1.09 to end the day at $117.24 a barrel. The Dollar Index, which gauges the price of the greenback against other major currencies, increased 1.1 percent Monday.
Speculation that debt woes in Europe will escalate provided support for the dollar Monday as the focus shifts to Italy, where some believe that a crisis akin to what Greece recently experienced could erupt. Italian government bond yields rose late last week, signaling reduced confidence in Italy's ability to avert default. The WTI futures price peaked at $96.75 and bottomed out at $94.14 Monday while the intraday range for Brent fluctuated from $115.27 to $118.29.
Buoyed by predictions of warmer-than-normal temperatures throughout the Midwest and East Coast during the next two weeks, natural gas futures gained 8.5 cents Monday. The August contract price settled at $4.29 per thousand cubic feet after trading within a range from $4.18 to $4.34.
Gasoline for August delivery lost two cents to end the day at $3.07 per gallon. It fluctuated from $3.03 to $3.10.
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