Oil prices hit new highs for the year today as investors geared up for the potential of more OPEC production cuts. Benchmark crude for April delivery gained $2.01 to $47.53 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices reached as high as $48.83 earlier in the day.
Investors continued to shun banks on worries the financial sector still hasn't raised enough capital to make up for its massive losses on bad assets. Heavyweight lender HSBC, Europe's largest bank, plunged over 24 percent in Hong Kong trade.
Every day this week arrived with more evidence that energy usage is unlikely to bounce back soon, yet some experts believe oil prices may already have struck bottom. Light, sweet crude for April delivery rose $1.91 to settle at $45.52 today on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the second time crude settled above $45 in one week, which hasn’t happened since the first week of the year.
Supertankers that once raced around the world to satisfy an unquenchable thirst for oil are now parked offshore, fully loaded, anchors down, their crews killing time. In the U.S., vast storage farms for oil are almost out of room.
Gasoline prices continued a weeklong decline today, down almost a penny to $1.91 overnight according to auto club AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service. Gas prices were 6.3 cents lower a month ago but $1.233 higher last year.
OPEC's output cuts have helped keep prices from falling further. Leaders of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries have said they may add to 4.2 million barrels a day of cuts announced since September at a meeting next month.
Investors are worried that the worst U.S. recession in decades could be deepening, and taking demand for crude down with it. Job losses are a particular concern as unemployment drags on consumer spending.
Pump prices still rising as refineries cut back on production Oil prices slid closer to a new multiyear low today because of growing doubts that the $789 billion stimulus package will reinvigorate the economy and demand for energy. But retail gas prices reached a new high for 2009 today and appeared headed back to $2 a gallon as refiners cut back on production. Unleaded gas prices this morning in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks were around $2 a gallon.
Oil prices lingered near $36 a barrel today in Asia, following a steep fall overnight, as surging crude inventories in the U.S. stoked investor concern that consumer demand will continue to fall amid a deep recession.
Light, sweet crude for January delivery edged up 47 cents to $40.53 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by midday in Europe. Earlier, it fell as low as $39.19 - a level not seen since at least July 2004.
Retail gasoline prices rose over the weekend for the first time in nearly three months, though crude prices fell today ahead of an OPEC meeting in Algeria where oil producing countries are expected to announced huge production cuts.
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