Price of crude oil hovers at near-record levels

| Thursday, March 17, 2005

The price of crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange closed for a second day above $56 a barrel, but short of yesterday’s record of $56.46.

The $56.40 price at close on Thursday, March 17, was lower than the price in off-session trading overnight, or at times during the day, when crude oil reached well above $57 a barrel.

Explanations for the increases abounded, even among experts, but there was a consensus that OPEC’s recent attempts to bring prices down had not had the desired effect.

Michael Guido, director of commodity strategy in New York for Societe Generale, told The Associated Press that the market was not being guided by any actual difficulties in supply, but rather by the perception that one exists.

“I don’t see anything that can take this thing down,” he told the news service.

Oil broker Tom Bentz, who works for BNP Paribas Commodity Futures Inc. in New York City, told Bloomberg news that a price of $60 a barrel was not out of the question.

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