Oil prices hit new highs

During trading in New York a barrel of crude reached an all-time high price of $US 43.05 dollars as the market reacted with alarm to the continuing problems at Yukos.

The price of New York’s light sweet crude for delivery in September slipped back to set a record finish of $US42.90 dollars, up $US1.06 on the day.

The closing price broke the previous record of $US42.45 dollars set in out-of-hours electronic trading on June 1.

In London, Brent North Sea crude soared 97 cents to close at $US39.51. It spiked at $US39.68, the highest since October 1990.

Economist Jason Shenker said: “Today, the price of oil spiked over 43 dollars a barrel. This may be only the beginning of high oil prices, which will almost certainly remain volatile for the remainder of the summer.”

He added that the market was “a-buzz” with talk of the oil contract potentially hitting $US50 a barrel.

However, analysts say that when inflation is factored in, world oil prices remain far below the levels reached in the 1970s energy crisis.

Prices have been driven up recently by tensions in the Middle East and worries the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is straining to meet global demand.

Now traders fear Yukos, the troubled Russian oil giant, could be forced to cut its daily output of 1.7 million barrels.

Refco market analyst Jim Still: “The prime mover I think this morning is Yukos. They made a comment that if the bailiff ruling goes through they may not be able to sell oil in another couple of days.

“It is very contradictory because just a little while before that they said that they were selling oil right through to November without any problem.”

Yukos said it could halt output within days after court bailiffs ordered its subsidiaries to halt all operations that would affect the state of their assets.

Russian news agency Interfax, quoted a company letter as saying, Yukos subsidiaries “will in effect be forced to stop production and delivery of oil since they have been forbidden to sell any and all property – which means carry out production deliveries.”

Bailiffs moved against Russia’s largest oil producer three weeks ago after it failed to pay $US3.4 billion in back taxes for 2000.

Yukos says it cannot pay the claim because courts have frozen its accounts and assets.

Posted in 上海性息网