Crude drops on Commerce Department data on consumer spending
Crude oil prices were lower in afternoon trade in New York on a stronger dollar and as the Commerce Department released disappointing new figures on consumer spending and personal incomes, providing more evidence that the US economy could be slowing down.
September contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude were down $1.13 to $93.76 per barrel at just past 1 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude was last reported 63 cents lower to $116.18 per barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.
The US Commerce Department reported that consumer spending was down 0.2 percent in June, its first decline in nearly two years, while personal income added just 0.1 percent, the smallest gain since November.
Half of the gain in personal income came fro higher payments from Medicaid and unemployment compensation, while wages and salaries were down in June.
Some analysts were of the opinion that prices would have fallen even more except that Tropical Storm Emily was forecast to possibly effect Florida by the end of the week.
Additionally, despite the passage of a bill raising the US debt ceiling by the House of Representatives Monday night and the expected passage by the Senate, which came during the day on Tuesday, investors still worried that ratings agencies might reduce the US credit rating.
Nymex September gasoline futures were 2 cents lower to $3.03 per gallon, while September heating oil was down a cent, to $3.08 per gallon, and September natural gas dropped 4 cents to $4.15 per million British thermal units.
The retail price of gasoline in the United States was down slightly again overnight, with drivers paying $3.703 per gallon on average nationally for regular unleaded.
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