The August crude oil futures contract tumbled a second day in a row on news of bearish indicators that the U.S. economic recovery is stalling.
Crude futures settled at $76.62 per barrel, down 42 cents after trading between $76.76 and $77.66. The August futures contract slid on news from the Federal Reserve Banks of New York and Philadelphia, which reported reduced growth in regional manufacturing activity, while U.S. industrial production rose .1 percent in June.
Reduced economic growth in China, the second largest crude oil consumer behind the U.S., also impacted crude futures. Uncertainty about future economic growth, which will impact future oil demand, has kept crude futures trading between $70 and $80.
Henry Hub natural gas futures rose in trading today, settling at $4.58 per thousand cubic feet after trading between $4.28 and $4.62. Gas futures rose as traders adjusted their positions ahead of the release on Friday of gas storage data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). As of July 9, 2,840 Bcf of working natural gas was in U.S. storage facilities, an implied net injection of 78 Bcf.
Despite hot weather around the country that typically boosts gas demand for use in generating electricity for cooling, high levels of gas in U.S. storage facilities and strong U.S. production from onshore shale plays continue to depress gas futures prices.
RBOB gasoline futures settled down five cents today at $2.06 after trading between $2.02 and $2.08.
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