Commodity Corner: Oil Falls Amid Sluggish Manufacturing Data

The price of a barrel of light sweet crude oil fell 48 cents Friday on reports of weaker demand in China and Europe.

The August WTI contract ended the day at $94.94 after the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing reported a 1.1-percent drop in its Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for June. The latest PMI figure of 50.9 percent marks the slowest rate of manufacturing expansion in the Chinese economy in 28 months, according to China's official news agency Xinhua.

Separately, JPMorgan and London-based Markit Economics reported Friday that PMIs throughout the eurozone fell last month. In addition, JPMorgan's Global Manufacturing PMI reportedly slipped from 53.0 in May to 52.3 in June. The new statistic represents the lowest Global PMI number—and the slowest rate of manufacturing expansion—in 23 months.

The August WTI fluctuated between $93.45 and $95.39 during pre-Independence Day trading. The Brent futures price settled at $111.77 a barrel after peaking at $111.85 and bottoming out at $109.94.

Natural gas for August delivery lost six cents to settle at $4.31 per thousand cubic feet. The intraday high and low prices were $4.39 and $4.30, respectively.

Front-month gasoline also fell by six cents, ending the day at $2.97 a gallon. The August contract traded within a range from $2.91 to $2.98.