Commodity Corner: Oil Falls 1.5%

Light, sweet crude plunged Thursday after the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported an unexpected gain in oil inventories.

Oil prices dropped $1.32 to end at $84.23 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Brent crude settled at $111.11 a barrel,
down 25 cents. The EIA said oil inventories grew by 1.3 million barrels for the week ended Oct. 7.

Meanwhile, a Chinese government report Thursday provided evidence of an economic slowdown in the world's second-largest oil-consuming country. The report showed a decrease in the country's crude demand, with September crude imports falling 12.2 percent from the previous year.

Prices for WTI fluctuated within an intraday range of $83.17 and $85.39, and $109.15 to $111.60 for Brent crude.

Despite bearish U.S. inventory reports, front-month natural gas futures ended higher Thursday at $3.53 per thousand cubic feet on the
New York Mercantile Exchange. According to EIA reports there was an injection of 112 billion cubic feet in U.S. stockpiles. The intraday
range for natural gas was $3.45 to $3.56 Thursday.

After fluctuating between $2.71 and $2.77, November gasoline added a penny to settle at $2.76 a gallon.