Commodity Corner: Oil Down on Global Economic Concern



The crude oil futures price continued heading downward Tuesday, falling to its lowest level in eight weeks.

March oil futures ended Tuesday's trading session at $86.19 a barrel. The $1.68 decline occurred amid mounting global economic concerns.

According to government reports, the U.K. took a surprising dip in its fourth-quarter gross domestic product, dropping 0.5%, due to heavy December snow storms. Meanwhile, India's central bank increased interest rates in an effort to control inflation.

U.S. reports, however, posed mixed signals. Although consumer confidence soared to an eight-month high, home prices declined to their lowest point in a year.

Policymakers for the U.S. Federal Reserve also began their first meeting of the year. Investors eagerly anticipate the outcome of the meeting Wednesday. The results should help investors decipher the outlook for the economy.

The intraday range for oil prices was $86.12 to $87.85 Tuesday.

Natural gas for February delivery fell again on Tuesday, pressured downward by warmer weather forecasts. Traders remain wary of warmer forecasts and larger stockpiles. Natural gas futures settled at $4.47 per thousand cubic feet Tuesday after trading between $4.40 and $4.61.

Gasoline futures for February delivery fell 7.05 cents to settle at $2.34 a gallon. The price of the commodity fluctuated between $2.34 and $2.41.