NEW YORK, March 12, 2008 (AFP) – Rocketing oil prices broke through 110 dollars per barrel for the first time in New York on Wednesday continuing a record run amid supply concerns and fevered market speculation. OPEC is under intense pressure from the United States to increase its production but declined to do so again as recently as last week at a meeting in Vienna. Traders said the ailing dollar also has also fueled a spike in world oil prices because crude is priced in dollars and has become cheaper to buy for purchasers holding stronger currencies.
Prices subsequently retreated slightly from their record peaks, but remained at high levels.
New York’s main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, ended up 1.17 dollars at a record closing high of 109.92 dollars per barrel after trading as high as 110.20 dollars.
In London, Brent North Sea crude for April delivery settled up 1.02 dollars at 106.27 dollars after hitting an intraday record 106.39 dollars a barrel.
“Whether you call this run speculative buying or hedging against dollar weakness, it definitely has nothing to do with oil market fundamentals” of supply and demand, Standard Bank analysts said in a research note