Saturday, November 6, 2010

Commodity Corner: Crude Oil, Natural Gas, Gasoline End the Week Higher

The price of a barrel of crude oil continued its ascent for the fifth straight day Friday, settling 36 cents higher at $86.85.

Oil for December delivery, which had received a boost during the week from the U.S. midterm elections and the Federal Reserve's "Quantitative Easing 2" policy to stimulate the economy, got a boost Friday from new U.S. Department of Labor jobs figures. According to the Labor Department, nonfarm payroll private-sector employment increased by 151,000 jobs in October. However, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.6 percent.

Crude oil traded from $85.96 to $87.22 Friday. Compared to Monday's settlement price, it is up 4.7 percent for the week.

December natural gas futures also ended the day higher, settling eight cents higher at $3.94 per thousand cubic feet. Colder weather forecasts have provided a boost to natural gas, countering the effect of high inventories. Friday's gas price, which ranged from $3.85 to $3.95 during trading, marks a 2.9 percent increase for the week.

Despite a steady string of increases throughout the week, gasoline for December delivery ended the day flat at $2.18 a gallon on Friday. Front month gasoline, which peaked at $2.19 and bottomed out at $2.16 during the day's session, finished the week up 4.3 percent.

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