The August futures price for a barrel of crude oil fell by 31 cents Wednesday after a government report revealed that the U.S. supply of oil remains high in a weak demand environment.
Oil settled at $75.63 a barrel after trading from $74.39 to $76.83 Wednesday. The U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that the country's total crude oil stockpile was 363.1 million barrels as of June 25, down 2 million barrels from the preceding Friday. Also, concerns about ongoing financial problems in Europe, an economic growth slowdown in China, and fears of another recession in the U.S. continue to have a dulling effect on oil demand expectations.
Natural gas, meanwhile, benefited from forecasts of a hot Fourth of July week. The front-month natural gas contract price increased by 7 cents Wednesday, settling at $4.62. Weather forecasts indicate above-average temperatures throughout the eastern half of the U.S., which would translate into greater demand for electricity. The intraday range for natural gas was $4.48 to $4.63.
The July futures price for a gallon of gasoline settled a penny lower at $2.06. Gasoline ranged from $2.03 to $2.08 during Wednesday's trading session.
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