27 May 2007 - 10:59
  • News Code: 105650

LONDON: Oil prices in London leapt to almost $72 a barrel this week, energised by simmering tensions over key crude producers Iran and Nigeria, and weak motor fuel stocks in the United States.

OIL: The price of London Brent North Sea crude hit a nine-month peak as traders fretted over US gasoline or petrol supplies heading into the American driving season which starts this weekend.


London Brent surged to $71.80 per barrel on Thursday the highest point since August 28, 2006. Meanwhile on Monday, the New York oil contract leapt as high as $67.10 per barrel.


Traders are preoccupied with gasoline ahead of the US peak-demand driving season starting this Memorial Day weekend, when Americans take to the roads for their summer holidays.


US President George W Bush has warned that the United States and its European allies would seek to toughen sanctions on Iran over its defiance of UN demands to rein in its atomic project.


Energy experts argue that Iran, the world’s fourth biggest producer of oil, could retaliate with cuts to its crude exports, which in turn could see prices spike.


In Nigeria, the sixth-biggest global crude producer, gunmen kidnapped several oil workers in southern Nigeria, sources said on Friday.


A stronger US currency tends to crimp demand for dollar denominated commodities, such as gold, as they become more expensive for buyers holding other currencies.


“Palladium retained its upward momentum whereas platinum followed gold’s lead and sunk,” Barclays Capital analysts said. “Expect another a week or so of choppy gains before palladium prices break decisively higher,” they added.


On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum slid to $1,276 an ounce at the late fixing on Friday, from $1,308 a week earlier.


Palladium climbed to $367 an ounce, from $362.



News Code 105650

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