Commodity Corner: Oil, Natural Gas Rally
Thanks in part to encouraging retail sales figures from the U.S. Government, light sweet crude oil for November delivery gained more than three percent Friday.
The WTI settled at $86.80 a barrel after peaking at $87.42 and bottoming out at $83.77.
Friday morning the U.S. Commerce Department reported that U.S. retail and food service sales for September rose by 1.1 percent (±0.5 percent) from the previous month. The advance monthly estimate of $395.5 billion is 7.9 percent higher than the comparable figure for September 2010, according to the agency.
The Commerce Department added that September gasoline stations sales gained 20.3 percent (±1.7 percent) year-on-year.
Also providing a boost for crude oil was optimism that a meeting of G-20 finance ministers in Paris over the weekend will advance a resolution to the euro-zone debt crisis. As a result, the euro strengthened against the dollar and crude oil became a better value for investors holding currencies other than the greenback.
The Brent contract price gained 3.2 percent to end the day at $114.68 a barrel. It fluctuated from $113.80 to $114.74 during Friday's trading.
Posting a more impressive day-on-day percentage gain than crude oil was November natural gas, which rose nearly five percent to settle at $3.70 per thousand cubic feet. Gas futures, which recently hit their lowest levels for 2011, recovered as investors seized a buying opportunity prior to anticipated growing demand for heating.
The front month contract for natural gas traded within a range from $3.51 to $3.74. November gasoline also ended the day higher, settling at $2.82 a gallon. The intraday range for gasoline was $2.75 to $2.83.