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Price of oil passes $90 a barrel, setting record

From Reuters

Oil roared past $90, setting a record Thursday, as tight inventories and fresh signs that OPEC would shrug off calls for additional oil from big consumer nations sent prices up nearly 4%.

U.S. crude settled up $3.36 at $90.46 a barrel after striking an intraday record of $90.60. The rise added to Wednesday’s gain of nearly $2.

Energy officials from OPEC nations Venezuela and Algeria said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would not boost output when it meets informally in Saudi Arabia next month.

“The high prices are not coming from a lack of production,” Algerian Energy Minister Chakib Khelil said.

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OPEC already has agreed to boost production by 500,000 barrels a day beginning Nov. 1, but the United States has called on the group to increase output further and No. 2 consumer China has said prices are too high.

Tracking the explosive rise in crude prices, heating-oil futures hit a new record while gasoline futures rose to their highest level since mid-July.

Markets began their most recent surge Wednesday after U.S. government data showed a much-larger-than-expected 5.3-million barrel draw in crude stocks of the world’s top consumer.

“I think this is a continuation of yesterday’s rally off the surprisingly bullish inventory release,” Eric Wittenauer at A.G. Edwards said.

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Traders also were watching Washington’s decision to designate OPEC member Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and its elite Quds Force a supporter of terrorism.

Oil prices have more than quadrupled since the start of 2002.

Prices have jumped roughly 45% this year on supply concerns, unprecedented dollar weakness and a shift of investor money into energy and commodities from other asset classes.


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