Commodity Corner: Storm Fears Propel Crude Oil

The price of the August oil futures contract rose 90 cents Tuesday as traders eyed the possible impact on Gulf of Mexico oil production from a tropical wave in the Caribbean Sea.

Crude oil settled at $77.44 a barrel after the National Hurricane Center predicted a 60% likelihood that the tropical system, centered between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico as of 2 p.m. EDT Tuesday, would become a tropical depression or storm within 48 hours. The tropical wave was moving west-northwestward Tuesday afternoon, and it may reach South Florida by the weekend. Crude oil traded from $75.65 to $77.57.

The front-month contract for natural gas also settled higher Tuesday. Gas ended the day at $4.59 per thousand cubic feet, an 8-cent improvement from the previous day's trading. The futures price fluctuated from $4.47 to $4.62.

August gasoline futures increased two cents to settle at $2.08 a gallon. Gasoline remained within a band from $2.05 to $2.09.