Commodity Corner: Crude Oil Up $2.44 for the Week

The price of a barrel of crude oil for September delivery declined Friday as traders anticipated no major effect on oil interests from a weakened tropical system that was on track to enter the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Oil fell 32 cents to settle at $78.98 as Tropical Depression Bonnie was moving westward across the southern Florida peninsula. Bonnie made landfall in Miami-Dade County, Fla., at approximately midday Friday as a minimal tropical storm. As of 5 p.m. EDT Friday, the National Hurricane Center reported that Bonnie had weakened to a tropical depression and was located approximately 35 miles south of Ft. Myers, Fla. Upon entering the Gulf, Bonnie was expected to regain tropical storm status before making landfall on the Central Gulf Coast Saturday evening. As of Friday afternoon, a tropical storm warning was in effect from Destin, Fla., to Morgan City, La., including Lake Pontchartrain.

During Friday's trading, the oil futures price ranged from $78.40 to $79.60. Crude finished the week higher; Monday's settlement price was $76.54.

The front-month contract price for natural gas also declined Friday, settling six cents lower at $4.58 per thousand cubic feet for August delivery. The commodity lost ground despite expectations of above-average temperatures throughout much of the U.S. for the remainder of this month. The intraday range for natural gas Friday was $4.56 to $4.67. Despite Friday's decline, natural gas is a nickel higher for the week.

Gasoline futures edged downward to settle at $2.12 a gallon Friday, a three-cent decline from the previous day's settlement price. The August gasoline contract price traded from $2.11 to $2.16, and gasoline ended the week six cents higher.