Commodity Corner: Oil Begins the Week Lower

Lately, the direction of crude oil futures prices has been more closely aligned with that of the stock market rather than the more traditional guideposts of supply and demand data. Monday offered no departure from this trend.

Major stock indexes such as the Dow Jones Industrials, the S&P 500, and the FTSE 100 remained largely flat on Monday, with the former losing 0.01% and the latter two each gaining 0.01%. Crude oil for September delivery also showed little movement from Friday, losing 15 cents to settle at $75.24. The intraday range for Monday was $74.86 to $75.95.

News about a reorganizing tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico failed to boost front-month natural gas, which settled a dime lower at $4.23 per thousand cubic feet Monday. The National Hurricane Center on Monday announced that the remnants of Tropical Depression Five, which dissipated last week before reaching the Central Gulf Coast, have become a weak area of circulation south of Panama City, Fla. The forecasting agency stated the system has a 60% likelihood of becoming a tropical cyclone; as it moves onshore Tuesday, the system is expected to produce locally heavy rainfall and gusty winds.

Natural gas traded from $4.18 to $4.35 Monday.

The price of a gallon of gasoline for September delivery fell two cents to settle at $1.92. It fluctuated from $1.92 to $1.96 during Monday's trading.