Commodity Corner: NYMEX Crude Gains 2.2%

Front-month crude oil on the NYMEX ended the day at $95.41 a barrel. The Brent contract price settled at $110.95 Tuesday.

The U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) reported Wednesday that commercial crude oil stocks stood at 363.8 million barrels for the week ending June 17, 2011, representing a 1.7 million-barrel decline from the previous week. The draw was below some analysts' expectations—a Platts survey of analysts projected a 2 million-barrel decline in inventories—but it was nevertheless satisfactory to support a 2.2 percent day-on-day gain.

Oil surged Wednesday despite a stronger dollar. The euro slid nearly 0.3 percent against the greenback as the debt crises in Europe, most notably in Greece, remain at the fore. After the Greek prime minister survived a no-confidence vote in his country's parliament Tuesday, the government can now focus on getting a series of austerity measures passed. Should the parliament approve the package of tax hikes, spending cuts, and privatizations, the government would then qualify for debt restructuring loans from the EU and IMF.

The WTI fluctuated from $93.24 to $95.40 while the Brent futures price ranged from $109.92 to $113.10.

Although EIA figures showed a lower-than-expected draw in gasoline stocks for last week, July gasoline futures managed to gain nine cents to settle at $2.97 a gallon. According to EIA, total U.S. motor gasoline inventories fell by 464,000 barrels last week to 214.6 million barrels. Analysts surveyed by Platts had anticipated a 1 million-barrel draw.

July gasoline traded within a range from $2.88 to $2.96 Wednesday.

Natural gas for July delivery lost seven cents to end the day at $4.32 per thousand cubic feet. It peaked at $4.44 and bottomed out at $4.315.