Oil prices flirt with $60 mark

| Friday, June 24, 2005

Crude oil prices hit the $60 mark Thursday and Friday, sparking a sharp drop-off in the stock market, particularly in the transportation segment.

FedEx Corp. blamed rising fuel costs for falling short on its earnings forecasts, which prompted a sell-off of FedEx stock that, in turn, triggered a drop in the overall market.

The Associated Press reported that stocks remained unstable on June 24 as investors remained jittery over high oil prices.

Analysts blame rapidly rising consumption in the U.S. for the increase in crude oil prices, but the price increases have yet to slow global demand.

What’s more, experts say that demand is not expected to slow any time soon. Reuter’s news service reported that Purnomo Yusgiantoro, oil minister for OPEC member Indonesia, said he doesn’t see demand dropping at least through next winter.

“Oil demand will increase when facing summer and winter ... We are worrying that the tendency is that (prices) will increase," he said.

Meanwhile, OPEC said it might hike its daily oil output by another 500,000 barrels in August if the market hasn’t calmed down by then.

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