Commodity Corner: Crude Falls on IEA Reports

Crude futures settled lower Tuesday on a weaker dollar and reports released by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Light, sweet crude ended Tuesday's trading session 16 cents lower, at $91.38 a barrel. According to the IEA's monthly reports, oil demand growth will be higher globally in 2011, but will slow down significantly as the year progresses. The 2011 forecasts for oil demand growth were increased by 80,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.41 million bpd, based on economic growth in emerging markets. In response to higher oil prices, the IEA claimed that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) may be increasing output. Meanwhile, OPEC's secretary general, Abdalla Salem El-Badri, said global stockpiles remain robust and oil prices have increased due to speculation and a weaker dollar.

Against a basket of six foreign currencies, the greenback fell to 79.08 Tuesday, down 0.42 percent. In observance of the Martin Luther King holiday, U.S. financial markets were closed Monday. The dollar was pressured by the three-day weekend.

The intraday range for oil was $90.55 to $91.90.

Front-month natural gas also inched lower Tuesday, settling at $4.425 per thousand cubic feet. In spite of the below-average temperatures forecasted for the month of January, natural gas prices continue to fall on a surplus of stockpiles. Natural gas futures fluctuated between $4.387 and $4.545 Tuesday.

Reformulated gasoline blendstock for February delivery lost 1.54 cents, ending Tuesday's trading session at $2.48 a gallon. Gasoline prices peaked at $2.51 and bottomed out at $2.45.