The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) - Oil prices fell below $67 a barrel Friday and headed for its first monthly decline since January as traders focused on a huge surplus of crude and natural gas in the United States.
Benchmark crude for September delivery was dropped $1.03 to $65.91 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent prices fell $1.77 to $68.34 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
Traders have gotten whiplash this week as prices jerked up and down on investor uncertainty about a global economic recovery in the near term.
The Commerce Department added some clarity Friday, reporting that the economy sank at a pace of 1 percent in the second-quarter. Many economists were predicting a bigger slump and took the report as another sign that the country was pulling itself out of the longest recession since World War II.
However, signs of weak energy consumption have dampened enthusiasm in a prolonged rally in oil prices. The government reported this week that crude and natural gas stockpiles continue to expand.
At the pump, retail gas prices ticked higher for the 10th day in a row. The national average for a regular unleaded added less than a penny overnight to $2.517 a gallon, according to auto club AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. Gas is 11.3 cents a gallon cheaper than last month, and it's $1.392 a gallon cheaper than last year.
In other Nymex trading, gasoline for August delivery fell 2.92 cents to $1.9619 a gallon and heating oil lost 3.1 cents to $1.7377. Natural gas for August delivery gave up 11.7 cents to $3.626 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Associated Press writers Carlo Piovano in London and Alex Kennedy in Singapore contributed to this report.