Commodity Corner: Weaker Dollar Boosts Crude Oil

Encouraging news about Europe's economy helped the euro to gain ground against the dollar and lift September oil futures above $78 Thursday.

The German Federal Employment Agency reported that the unemployment rate for the civilian work force in Europe's largest economy was 7.6% in July -- the lowest level since November 2009. The news helped to bolster the euro's position against the greenback, which has trended weaker in recent weeks. The price of a barrel of crude oil settled at $78.36 Thursday, a $1.37 increase from the previous day's session. The intraday range for oil was $76.45 to $78.89.

Although the U.S. Energy Department reported that the amount of natural gas in storage rose for the week ending July 28, 2010, September natural gas futures settled higher Thursday. The 11-cent increase to $4.83 per thousand cubic feet followed an Energy Information Administration report that gas inventories increased by 28 billion cubic feet during the period, which was significantly below historical injections for the week. Natural gas traded from $4.68 to $4.87.

The price of a gallon of gasoline for August delivery also ended the day higher, settling at $2.10. Gasoline fluctuated from $2.05 to $2.11.