Oil Market Summary for 06/07/2010 to 06/11/2010
After clawing its way back above $75 a barrel on Thursday for the first time in four weeks, the benchmark oil futures contract fell back again on Friday on news of an unexpected decline in retail sales in the U.S.
The end-of-week decline showed how feeble the rally was and how sensitive oil prices remain to economic news.
Oil prices were still ahead for the week, with the benchmark West Texas Intermediate settling Friday at $73.78 a barrel, after dropping 4.1% last Friday, the biggest single-day drop since February, to settle at $71.51.
A disappointing U.S. jobs report hit oil prices last Friday, but better economic news in the U.S. and some calming of economic tension in Europe allowed oil prices to gain three days in a row this week, peaking with Thursday's close of $75.48 a barrel.
Friday's report that U.S. retail sales declined 1.2% in May, against a consensus forecast for a small gain, started the downward spiral. Ironically, the Reuters/University of Michigan index rose to a higher-than-expected 75.5 in June its highest level in two and a half years from 73.6 in May. Economists were looking for the index to hit just 74 in June.