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Crude rises more than $9 in a week

Oil holds above $121 on dollar slump and tensions between Russia and the West.





Updated on 22 Aug 2008 10:02 GMT

Oil prices remained above $121 per barrel on Friday in Asia after soaring by more than $5 yesterday following a renewed slump in the dollar and rising tensions between Russia and the West.

Light crude for October delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) was pegged at $121.50 per barrel by 09:26 GMT, up $0.32 on yesterday's price at the close of trading.

The Intercontinental Exchange's(ICE) Brent Crude contract was also slightly higher than Thursday's settlement price at $120.55 per barrel by 09:29 GMT, $0.39 above the level reached at the close of business yesterday.

The US dollar suffered its largest one-day drop in five months yesterday, prompting a surge in crude buying interest as investors purchased crude oil as a hedge against inflation.

Increasing tensions between Russia and the West also lead investors to mull the likelihood that crude supplies would be disrupted further. Russia's conflict with Georgia has already affected the transit of Azeri oil through the region, and traders fear the situation could worsen.

The While House demanded on Thursday that Russia must withdraw its military forces from Georgia, saying Moscow was in violation of a commitment to do so made earlier this month.

The United States and Poland also signed an agreement on Wednesday to place a U.S. missile defense base just 115 miles from the Russian border — a move, which was quickly denounced by Moscow.

Prices have now risen by more than $9 since reaching a four-month low of $111.34 per barrel last Friday. This week's surge in the price of crude ends a dramatic slide of more than $35 from the record high of $147.27 a barrel reached on July 11th, which was triggered by worries about slowing global demand.

Some analysts, however, have said the recent rise in crude prices is disconnected from traditional supply-and-demand fundamentals, pointng to the slump in oil demand and the increase in U.S crude oil inventories.






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