Oil drops as Ernesto expected to miss Gulf fields

Oil prices pulled back by almost $2 a barrel Monday as concerns eased about Tropical Storm Ernesto's threat to Gulf of Mexico energy production. Gasoline and natural gas futures also fell sharply, and analysts said the downward trend was supported by rising supplies and indications of a weakening economy. After falling as low as $70.15 a barrel, light sweet crude for October delivery settled at $70.61, a decrease of $1.90 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Hurricane Ernesto was downgraded to a tropical storm late Sunday, and forecasters believe it will veer to the northeast - a significant development for oil markets.