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News // Markets & Stocks

Oil prices bounded above $103 a barrel

11 September 2008 , 11:44753
US light crude for October delivery shored up 72 cents to
$103.30 a barrel by 0547 GMT, after rallying more than $1
earlier in the session.

That came after it dropped as low as $101.36 a day earlier
after the pressure of a rising dollar and concerns about
global demand outweighed earlier bullish news that Opec
had agreed to cut output by about 500,000 bpd.
London Brent crude rose 48 cents to $99.45 a barrel.

Crude prices have tumbled 30% since hitting a record high
above $147 a barrel three months ago, a descent barely
slowed by a pair of hurricanes whipping through the US
Gulf, home to a quarter of US crude production.

Crude companies kept shut almost all US offshore
production for a second week and began shutting coastal
refineries in Texas as Hurricane Ike headed toward the key
US energy hub.

Output from the region was less than 5% of normal as Ike
approached just over a week after Hurricane Gustav spun
through the same area.

Combined, Gustav and Ike have reduced Gulf production by
14.1 million barrels of oil, 67.9 billion cubic feet of
natural gas, cutting into both fuel oil and crude
inventories.

US refinery utilisation plunged to 78.3% of total capacity
in the week ending 5 September, the lowest level since
October 2005 when hurricanes Katrina and Rita ravaged Gulf
coast refineries, data showed yesterday.

Prices also fell today after the International Energy
Agency cut its world crude demand forecasts for this year
and the next as high prices and mounting economic troubles
drive consumers and businesses to conserve.

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