Commodity Corner: Crude Falls on European Concerns

October oil futures fell Tuesday as speculation rose that Europe's debt crisis may worsen.

Returning from a long weekend, U.S. traders were greeted with concerns of weaker equities markets. Front-month crude traded $1.14 lower, settling at $73.46 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Germany's economics ministry reported a 2.2-percent decline in that country's factory orders from the previous month, stoking concerns about Europe's economic growth. The euro fell against the dollar 1.3 percent—the steepest one-day decline since Aug. 11. A weakening euro hinders the appeal of commodities as an alternative investment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.7 percent and the S&P 500 lost 0.8 percent, ending a four-day rally.

Tuesday's intraday range for October oil was $72.63 to $74.49.

Meanwhile, traders had something else to worry about Tuesday: commercial stockpiles of natural gas, which are at a 27-year high.
Natural gas for October delivery settled 9 cents lower at $3.85 per thousand cubic feet. During the day's trading, gas peaked at $3.93 and bottomed out at $3.77.

October reformulated gasoline prices ended 1 percent lower at $1.90 a gallon. Gasoline fluctuated between $1.88 and $1.93 Tuesday.