Underwhelming retail sales data from the U.S. Government contributed to a $1.70 drop in the July oil futures price Friday.
Crude oil settled at $73.78 a barrel after the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that retail sales declined by 1.2 percent in May. Recent proclamations of an economic recovery by various government officials and agencies had led many traders to anticipate an increase in purchases. The Commerce Department's disappointing news lent credence to the view that a double-dip recession could be in store for the economy. Oil traded from $73.26 to $75.64 during Friday's session. Despite the decline, oil still settled $2.34 higher for the week.
The natural gas futures price for July delivery settled at $4.78 per thousand cubic feet Friday, a 13-cent gain from Thursday's settlement price. The increase followed a report by a prominent private weather forecaster that all of the Continental U.S., save for the Pacific Northwest and northern Great Plains, should experienced above-normal temperatures for the remainder of the month. The intraday range for natural gas was from $4.66 to $4.80. Friday's price movement ended a week of steady declines for natural gas, which is down 14 cents for the week.
The price of a gallon of gasoline fell to $2.05 Friday, a two-cent decline from the previous day. Gasoline traded from $2.03 to $2.08, and it is up six cents for the week.
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