Oil prices jumped Friday to a new high for 2009 when Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke noted that the U.S. economy is nearing a recovery.

Crude prices for October delivery rose a painful 98 cents to settle at US$73.89. At one point during the day prices briefly neared $75.

There are some other indicators that the economic rebound is not that definite such as natural gas plummeting to a new seven-year low. Natural gas is used by major industries, including utilities, for power. That is a big difference compared to the upward movments we are seeing in crude oil and gasoline during the past few months.

Crude is not likely to move much higher at this time of year since the summer driving season is winding down and that will lessen demand.

A couple factors that can potentially move oil higher is that the US dollar is weakening agasint the Euro and other benchmark currencies, which means that it takes more US dollars (higher price) to buy a barrel of crude. Also, there has been some hurricaine activitiy lately that can spook traders and drive up crude oil prices.

We will continue to watch the crude oil price closely, as it is a great indicator of where gas prices are headed. Lets hope it does not move much higher from here.