Commodity Corner: Oil Settles Higher

Positive news about the U.S. jobless rate and Chinese trade figures helped July oil futures to rise $1.10 a barrel Thursday.

Crude oil settled at $75.48 in response to a U.S. Department of Labor report that claims for unemployment fell by 456,000 last week. The agency stated that seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance for the week ending June 5 declined a 456,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week. A report that Chinese imports and exports each rose by 48% in May also buoyed oil traders' hopes that Europe's economic woes were not too much of a drag on the U.S. economy. Crude oil traded from $73.72 to $76.30 on Thursday.

Natural gas futures lost three cents Thursday, settling at $4.65 per thousand cubic feet. The decline followed the release of a U.S. Department of Energy report concluding that the amount of natural gas in storage increased more than expected last week. The intraday range for natural gas was $2.02 to $2.08.

July gasoline futures increased from $2.04 to $2.07 a gallon Thursday. The gasoline price fluctuated from $2.02 to $2.08.