Commodity Corner: Oil Increases on IEA View

Crude futures gained 14 cents Thursday on positive economic reports and raised forecasts by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

After fluctuating between $94.29 and $95.75, light, sweet oil rose by 0.2 percent to settle at $94.95 a barrel.

The IEA, during its medium-term report, urged OPEC to raise output levels. The IEA claimed global demand remains strong and increased its five-year global forecast by approximately 700,000 bpd.

Also pressuring oil prices was the modest increase in U.S. labor and housing markets. According to the Labor Department, initial unemployment claims fell by 16,000 for the week ended June 11. Meanwhile, construction on new homes rose 3.5 percent from the prior month.

Natural gas for July delivery plunged to a three-week low Thursday settling at $4.41 per thousand cubic feet. The 3.6 percent-drop came on weather forecasts indicating a decline in demand. The Department of Energy said U.S. gas inventories grew by 69 billion cubic feet, almost balanced with analysts' expectations.

The intraday range for natural gas was $4.408 to $4.595 Thursday.

Front-month gasoline ended the trading session at $2.95 a gallon, up 2.59 cents from the previous session. Prices traded between $2.93 and $2.99 a gallon Thursday.