Commodity Corner: Debt Talks Boost Crude

Crude prices briefly passed the $100-mark Tuesday as investors remained uncertain about the U.S. economy.

Tuesday's trading volumes were moderate as oil traders anticipated the upcoming deal. Oil prices fluctuated between $97.76 and $100.62 during the trading session. Republican and Democrat lawmakers are trying to compromise on a deal to raise the federal government's debt ceiling ahead of the Treasury Department's Aug. 2 deadline.

Likewise, the political maneuvering surrounding the debt ceiling prompted the dollar to drop against the euro. Against a basket of six other major currencies, the dollar index fell 0.6 percent to 73.595.

Light, sweet crude for September delivery settled at $99.59 a barrel Tuesday.

In other economic news, consumer confidence rose to 59.5 in July, according to a Conference Board report. In addition, the Commerce Department reported a 5-month high in new single family homes.

Its European counterpart, Brent crude added 34 cents, settling at $118.28 a barrel. Brent prices traded between a range of $116.59 and $118.98 Tuesday.

Meanwhile, natural for August delivery slid lower Tuesday, ending the session at $4.37 per thousand cubic feet. Natural gas prices fluctuated between $4.316 and $4.391 Tuesday.

The front-month contract expires at the close of Wednesday's trading session.

RBOB gasoline added 1.68 cents to settle at $3.15 a gallon. The intraday range was $3.095 to $3.17 Tuesday.