Commodity Corner: Crude Futures Continue Rally

The August 2010 oil futures contract rallied on Friday, riding gains seen in U.S. stocks and growth in wholesale inventories that met expectations.

The August oil futures contract traded between $76.48 and $75 before settling at $76.09 per barrel, up 65 cents from the previous day's trading.

Crude futures are expected to mirror the movement of stock in the absence of news and supply data, with the assumption that a higher stock market signals economic recovery. The U.S. government reported today that wholesale inventories rose in May as warehouses were restocked with durable goods.

The August futures contract today settled nearly $4 higher than last week's settlement of $72.16 per barrel as crude futures rallied on signs of possible economic recovery, including reports this week by the U.S. Energy Information Administration that global oil demand would rise this year and 2011 and that U.S. oil stockpiles were lower.

The front-month price for natural gas settled slightly up from Thursday at $4.40 per thousand cubic feet, but down from the $4.69 per thousand cubic feet settlement price seen last Friday.  Natural gas traded between $4.33 per thousand cubic feet and $4.45 per thousand cubic feet.

Above-normal temperatures in the U.S. Northeast, Midwest and other regions continue to support gas demand, but ample U.S. gas supply is keeping a lid on gas prices.

August gasoline futures settled at $2.07 a gallon Friday after trading between $2.04 and $2.08, up slightly from Thursday's settlement price and up nine cents from last Friday's settlement price of $1.98.