Commodity Corner: Oil Bypasses $90

The oil futures price crossed the $90.00 mark Wednesday and stayed there, buoyed by a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) report showing another drop in the country's commercial oil stocks.

Crude oil for February delivery settled at $90.48 a barrel, a 66-cent gain from Tuesday, after the DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced that inventories fell by 5.3 million barrels last week. The 340.7 million-barrel level as of December 17 nevertheless is above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year, the EIA reported.

Oil traded within a range from $89.85 to $90.80 Wednesday.

January natural gas ended the day higher after the National Weather Service updated its forecast models to indicate colder-than-expected temperatures in the Upper Midwest and Northeast early next month. Gas futures rose by nine cents to settle at $4.15 per thousand cubic feet.

Natural gas peaked at $4.17 and bottomed out at $3.99.

Front-month gasoline gained two cents to end the day at $2.42 a gallon. It fluctuated from $2.41 to $2.43.