Oil Rises Above $104


Crude oil rose above $104 a barrel for the first time in New York after OPEC gave no indication it will increase production, U.S. fuel inventories declined and Venezuela sent tanks to its border with Colombia.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to maintain production targets at a meeting today in Vienna. U.S. supplies fell for the first time in eight weeks, the Energy Department said. Venezuela activated the country's navy and air force in addition to 10 tank battalions being mobilized.

Crude oil for April delivery rose $5, or 5 percent, to settle at $104.52 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, a record close. It was the biggest one-day increase since Jan. 30, 2007. Futures touched $104.95 a barrel, the highest since trading began in 1983. Prices are up 74 percent from a year ago.

Brent crude for April settlement rose $4.12, or 4.2 percent, to $101.64 a barrel on London's ICE Futures Europe exchange, a record close. Futures reached a $102.29 a barrel on March 3, a record intraday price.

On Oct. 15, prices passed the previous all-time inflation- adjusted record reached in 1981 when Iran cut oil exports. The cost of imported oil used by U.S. refiners averaged $39 a barrel in February 1981, according to the Energy Department, or $92.50 in today's dollars.

Crude-oil supplies fell 3.06 million barrels to 305.4 million in the week ended Feb. 29, according to the Energy Department. A 2.4-million-barrel gain was forecast,

Gold and corn also rose to records today. Gold futures for April delivery climbed as much as 3 percent to $995.20 an ounce, the highest ever, on the Comex division of the Nymex.


TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
3/5/2008 3:33:21 PM