Crude Back Up After Early Losses

Crude Back Up After Early Losses

Oil prices settled higher, rebounding from earlier losses on reports that Nigerian oil workers are about to strike, and investors focused on a surprise decline in gasoline inventories last week.

Retail gas prices slipped slightly for a second day, a sign that falling demand may be affecting prices and that prices at the pump may have caught up to crude oil’s latest record advance.

Light, sweet crude rose $2.67 to settle at $136.68 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

At the pump, the average national price of a gallon of gas slipped 0.3 cent overnight to $4.075 a gallon, according to a survey of stations by AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. It was the second straight decline, bringing prices half a cent below their latest record of $4.08 a gallon, set Monday.

In other Nymex trading, July gasoline futures gained 4.88 cents to settle at $3.4667 a gallon, and July heating oil futures added 3.78 cents to settle at $3.86 a gallon.

July natural gas futures rose 25.8 cents to settle at $13.21 per 1,000 cubic feet. Natural gas prices last settled over $13 in December 2005, as they receded from a spike above $15 in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

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