Commodity Corner: Crude Cracks $90 Mark

Crude oil surged above $90 for the first time in more than two years Tuesday but ended the day's trading below that threshold.

January crude settled at $88.69 a barrel, a 69-cent decline from Monday. Oil peaked at $90.76 Tuesday, buoyed by the sentiment that cold weather in the U.S. and Europe and increasing economic growth elsewhere would result in a net decline in oil inventories. Moreover, the euro strengthened against the dollar for the second straight day.

Oil bottomed out at $88.34 Tuesday.

Natural gas for January delivery, which has enjoyed a bounce recently as a result of winter-like conditions through much of the U.S., ended the day at $4.39 per thousand cubic feet. Tuesday's 10-cent decline stems from the expectation that ample gas inventories will be quite sufficient in meeting the anticipated increased heating demand.

Natural gas traded from $4.38 to $4.545 during Tuesday's session.

Front-month gasoline fell two cents to settle at $2.32 a gallon after fluctuating from $2.31 to $2.36.