Commodity Corner: WTI Nears $91; Brent Approaches $113

The September WTI contract price tumbled two percent Wednesday after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that commercial crude oil inventories increased last week.

Light sweet crude oil fell to $91.22 a barrel before ending the day at $91.93. The intraday high was $93.75. The EIA on Wednesday reported that oil stocks increased by one million barrels last week to 355.0 million barrels. The July 29, 2011, figure was three million barrels lower than the corresponding figure last year. Analysts surveyed by Platts had anticipated a larger build in EIA's latest report, predicting a two million-barrel week-on-week increase in inventories.

Brent futures fell more dramatically Wednesday, losing $3.23 to settle at $113.23 a barrel. The contract peaked at $115.98 and bottomed out at $113.09 during the midweek session.

Thanks to a moderating temperature outlook from the Midwest to the Northeast for the next two weeks, cooling demand in these power-hungry regions is expected to remain at normal levels. Not surprisingly, natural gas for September delivery lost 6.5 cents Wednesday. Natural gas settled at $4.09 per thousand cubic feet after trading within a range from $4.07 to $4.18.

Front-month gasoline plunged 3.6 percent Wednesday to settle at $2.93 a gallon. The September contract fluctuated from $2.92 to $3.02.