NEW YORK, Jan 2, 2008 (AFP) – Oil prices spiked to record closing highs within striking distance of 100 dollars a barrel Wednesday, triggering inflation jitters that weighed on the US stock market. “Crude prices are drawing some support from (expectations of) a further decline in crude stocks in a weekly US inventories report,” said Sucden analyst Andrey Kryuchenkov. New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for February, briefly reached a record 100 dollars per barrel in intraday trade before easing back. It closed up a hefty 3.64 dollars from Monday’s close at a record 99.62 dollars.
Its previous all-time intraday high was 99.29 dollars on November 21, followed by an all-time closing peak of 96.55 dollars on November 23.
In London, Brent North Sea crude for February soared 3.99 dollars to settle at a record 97.84 dollars per barrel after hitting an intraday historic high of 98 dollars.
Markets were closed Tuesday for the New Year holiday.
“Oil prices surged on the first trading day of the year on the back of cold weather and political violence in Nigeria and Algeria — two OPEC members that have both been key sources of incremental US imports in the face of declining short-haul Me