Commodity Corner: Debt, Floods Tug at Oil Price

Crude oil for June delivery settled 68 cents higher Friday, ending the day at $99.65 a barrel.

For much of the day a stronger dollar limited upward movement of the oil futures price. Fears of a deteriorating economic situation in Greece, which has faced a debt crisis for some time, directed the proverbial spotlight at the broader eurozone. The attention diminished the luster of the euro, making oil—priced in dollars—a less attractive buy for investors holding currencies other than the greenback.

Concerns on the other side of the Atlantic, however, gave crude oil a lift later Friday. Specifically, traders worried about how flooding in the Lower Mississippi River valley would affect refinery operations and shipments from Baton Rouge downriver to New Orleans and beyond.

June crude oil traded within a range from $97.09 to $100.70 Friday. For the week, oil is up 2.5 percent.

The June gasoline contract price received a more modest boost from the Mississippi River flooding fears, gaining a penny to end the day at $3.07 a gallon. Gasoline peaked at $3.14 and bottomed out at $3.03. It is down 0.6 percent for the week.

June natural gas settled higher Friday after Baker Hughes reported that fewer rotary rigs were drilling for the energy source. According to the company's weekly North America rig count, the number of gas rigs fell by 16 to 874 this past week. In contrast, 951 rigs were drilling for natural gas at this time last year.

Natural gas gained six cents to end the day at $4.25 per thousand cubic feet. The June contract price fluctuated from $4.15 to $4.27, and gas is up 0.2 percent for the week.