Oil Rises to Record

Crude oil rose to a record above $143 a barrel on speculation the dispute over Iran's nuclear program may disrupt supply from OPEC's second-largest producer.

Pressure on Iran to end its uranium enrichment program and the falling value of the U.S. dollar may drive prices to $170 a barrel, OPEC President Chakib Khelil said on June 28. Oil is headed for its biggest six-month gain since 1999 as investors shun equities for commodities, looking for a hedge against a weaker dollar and quickening inflation.

Crude oil for August delivery rose as much as $3.46, or 2.5 percent, to $143.67 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was at $141.95 a barrel at 1:24 p.m. in London.

Brent crude oil for August settlement rose as much as $3.60, or 2.6 percent, to $143.91 a barrel on London's ICE Futures Europe exchange, the highest since trading began in 1988. It was at $142.06 a barrel at 12:26 p.m. London time.

Foreign ministers from the Group of Eight nations last week suggested more talks to coax Iran into opening its nuclear program to inspectors, after speculation the Islamic Republic faces an imminent Israeli strike.

John Bolton, the former U.S. envoy to the United Nations, has said Israel would strike Iran between the U.S. presidential election in November and inauguration in January.

Nigeria's rank among producers in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has slipped from sixth to seventh behind Angola amid a renewal in militant violence. Chevron Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc. and Eni SpA have all shuttered fields there this month.

The European Central Bank is expected to raise interest rates a quarter-percentage point to 4.25 percent, according to a survey of economists by Bloomberg News. The dollar has declined 7.3 percent this year against the euro.

TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
6/30/2008 6:31:12 AM