Commodity Corner: Crude Declines, But Data Could Send Prices Up



The August crude oil futures contract declined in trading today after making it biggest one-week gain last week since May. The August crude oil futures contract declined by $1.14, settling at US$74.95 per barrel after trading between $74.52 and $76.43.

However, oil could break out of the $70-$80 range of trading seen recently if reports of U.S. retail sales figures and U.S. industrial production figures, and the beginning of corporate earnings season, offer positive signals of economic recovery. Reports over the weekend of higher crude oil imports into China also could push crude futures prices higher.
 
The ample supply of natural gas in the U.S. continued to weigh down the Henry Hub gas August futures contract, which ended the trading day lower despite weather reports of continued hot weather over the next few weeks. Gas futures settled at $4.38 per thousand cubic feet, down one cent after trading between $4.35 per thousand cubic feet and $4.45 per thousand cubic feet.
 
Gas inventories continue to swell as producers continue to successfully drill U.S. onshore shale plays, and concerns over excess production remain on many traders' minds. At the same time, gas demand is expected to rise as the next two weeks forecasts call for scorching heat waves in the U.S. Northeast, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic.
 
Gasoline futures declined four cents from Friday, settling at $2.02 after trading between $2.02 and $2.07.