Oil prices near records in Asia amid dollar weakness

SINGAPORE, Feb 29, 2008 (AFP) – World oil prices continued higher Friday, trading around fresh record levels as speculators piled into the market on the back of a sharp decline in the US dollar after a weak report on US economic growth, dealers said. In morning trade, New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, climbed 21 cents to 102.80 dollars per barrel.

The contract had closed up 2.95 dollars to a record 102.59 dollars per barrel in New York on Thursday, eclipsing the prior record of 100.88 dollars reached on Tuesday.

The benchmark New York contract touched an all-time intraday peak at 102.74 dollars on Thursday, and after the market close reached 102.97 dollars in electronic trade. Brent North Sea crude for April gained 16 cents to 101.06 dollars a barrel, after settling at an all-time high of 100.90 dollars a barrel on Thursday. The contract had struck an intraday record of 101.27 dollars.