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Oil prices close with record highs above 72 dollars
Latest Updated by 2006-04-20 11:22:24

World crude oil prices closed with record highs above 72 dollars Wednesday amid worries of supply in Iran and Nigeria, as U.S. energy stocks dropped. New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, added 82 cents to close at 72.17 dollars a barrel, its highest closing price since 1983, after touching an intra-day high of 72.40 dollars.

On London's ICE Futures exchange, the price of Brent North Seacrude for June delivery climbed 1.22 dollars to 73.73 dollars a barrel, its record high since 1988, after touching an intra-day high of 74 dollars.

Inventories of U.S. commercial crude oil and refined products declined in the week ended April 14, the Energy Department reported Wednesday in its weekly nationwide survey.

Data showed that the nation's commercial crude oil inventories fell by 800,000 barrels last week to 345.2 million barrels, or 7 percent higher than a year ago. Gasoline stockpiles plunged 5.4 million barrels last week to 202.5 million, or 4.6 percent below year ago levels. The drop was much sharper than the decline of 2.2 million barrels that analysts had been expecting.

At the same time, supplies of distillates, which are used to make heating oil and diesel, fell last week by 2.8 million barrels to 114.6 million, or 9.6 percent higher than last year. The decrease was also bigger than the forecast drop of 1.4 million barrels.

Traders are still concerned about Iran's nuclear standoff with the international community and violence in Nigeria that has forced the shutdown of more than half a million barrels a day of supply.

Iran is OPEC's number-two producer behind Saudi Arabia, making four million bpd of oil and exporting 2.4 million bpd. Nigeria is Africa's leading oil producer and the fifth-biggest source of U.S. oil imports.

Editor: Donald

By: Source:China View website
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