Oil prices rise above $104; natural gas sinks

The price of oil rose more than a $1 for the third time in the last four trading days, and closed above $104 for the first time since July 3.

Benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery rose $1.46 to $104.59 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Friday, the Nymex contract fell 6 cents to $103.13. Oil has gained 4.6 percent over the past four trading sessions.

Brent crude for September delivery, a benchmark for international oils, gained 44 cents to $107.68 on the ICE exchange in London.

Meanwhile, natural gas prices sank further below $4 on forecasts for cooler temperatures in parts of the U.S. Natural gas supplies haven’t been dropping as quickly this summer, as milder temperatures compared with last year reduce the need for homeowners to run the air conditioning full tilt.

Natural gas fell 10 cents to $3.85 per 1,000 cubic feet.

At the pump, gasoline prices inched lower to an average of $3.57. That’s down 4 cents from a week ago and 11 cents cheaper than at this time last year.

In other Nymex trading:

— Wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents to $2.89 a gallon.

— Heating oil gained 1 cent to $2.86 a gallon.

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