Singapore: Oil continued its record-breaking run on Friday, hitting $145 a barrel for the first time after a U.S report added to supply worries and the U.S dollar weakened, analysts said.
Brent North Sea crude for August delivery traded at 145.00 in early Asian trade, 74 cents higher than its record close of 144.26 in London the previous day, when the contract topped $144 for the first time.
New York’s benchmark futures contract, light sweet crude for August delivery, was 81 cents higher at 144.38 from its record close of 143.57 on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday.
The latest surge followed a warning from Iranian oil minister Gholam Hossein Nozari that his country would react fiercely to any attack against it. “Iran, if there were any kind of activity of any sort, is not going to be quiet and would react fiercely,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the World Petroleum Congress in Madrid.
He said oil prices, which have been driven to record levels partly because of fears about the loss of Iran’s 4.0 million barrel a day output, would rise radically if Israel or the U.S launched a military strike.
Western powers and Iran have been engaged in long-running efforts to resolve a stalemate over Iran’s nuclear enrichment programme, which the West fears could be used to make an atomic bomb.
The dollar slumped to a two-month low against the euro on Wednesday. A weaker dollar makes dollar-denominated commodities like oil cheaper for buyers with stronger currencies.
With inventories falling, OPEC secretary general Abdallah el-Badri said that U.S authorities should stop pressing the organization’s member nations to pump more crude.
Global oil prices have doubled in the past year and have risen by 45% since the start of 2008, when they breached $100 for the first time, triggering fears over inflation and slower economic growth. Protests against the soaring prices have also broken out around the world.