Commodity Corner: Oil, Natural Gas Settle Higher

The price of light sweet crude oil for August delivery gained 65 cents Thursday to settle at $95.42 a barrel.

The WTI received a boost from a weaker dollar as well as a slight improvement in new jobless claims. The Dollar Index declined 0.4 percent, signifying that dollar-denominated crude oil became a better value for investors holding currencies other than the greenback. In addition, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that first-time claims for unemployment insurance declined by 1,000 to 428,000 last week.

The August WTI contract price fluctuated from $93.88 to $95.82. Brent futures settled at $112.40 a barrel. The Brent contract traded within a range from $108.10 to $112.67.

August natural gas gained 5.5 cents to settle at $4.37 per thousand cubic feet. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that the country's natural gas inventories rose by 78 billion cubic feet last week. The implied build was lower than what analysts had expected. A Platts survey of analysts projected an increase of 80 to 84 Bcf.

Natural gas futures traded within a range from $4.21 to $4.42 Thursday.

July gasoline gained two cents to end the day at $3.03 a gallon—the intraday high. Gasoline bottomed out at $2.98 Thursday.