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Oil rings in the New Year, settles at $79

As the year drew to a close, crude oil reached for the $80 mark, but fell short as the market closed its doors. Putting together a nice rebound from the 2008 price collapse that carried into 1Q2009, 2009 will be hailed as one of the strongest years for crude oil since 1973 on a percentage gain basis.

Crude oil ends the year with a gain of more than 75% compared to this time last year, but the price of the hydrocarbon still remains about 45% below the 2008 high. Natural gas, on the other hand finishes 2009 about flat with year ago levels.

Settling at a price of $79.36, light, sweet crude oil for February delivery gained momentum from yesterday’s closing price. On the other hand, natural gas prices took a modest step down on the last day of the decade, as the front month contract settled at $5.57 per thousand cubic feet for the day.

“We will see price fluctuation in 2010,” states Dave Newsom, senior analyst with DTN. “Over the next four to six weeks, we can see crude oil prices come down, maybe hit the $50 mark.


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