Oil prices at highest level in a year

15 October 2009

US dollar falls to a new low

Crude oil prices hit their highest level in a year on 15 October as the US dollar fell to a 14-month low.

November West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded as high as $75.96 a barrel on 15 November, its highest level since October 2008. Prices fell back to $75.10 a barrel later in the day. This was still up $4.90 from a week before when it traded at $70.20.

In Europe, November Brent contract traded at $73.20 a barrel on 15 October, up $5.30 a barrel from the $67.90 a barrel recorded a week before.

The average price for Opec members’ 12 crudes was $71.96 a barrel on 14 October, up $4.20 a barrel from the $67.76 a barrel reported seven days before.

Analysts attribute the sharp rise in prices to a corresponding fall in the value of the US dollar, which traded at a 14-month low on 15 October when the Euro hit $1.497 against the dollar. The dollar fell on expectations that the US government would hold interest rates low, between 0 per cent and 0.25 per cent following a meeting of the Federal Reserve’s board of directors on 14 October.

The international oil cartel Opec helped buoy the market by revising its demand forecast for 2010, up by 700,000 barrels a day (b/d) to 84.93 million b/d in a report on 13 October.

China also reported on 13 October that its crude oil imports had reached 4.2 million b/d, its third consecutive month of importing more than 4 million b/d.

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