The price of light, sweet crude oil set a new intraday high
in trading on Tuesday, April 18.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, trading reached a high
of $71.45 per barrel after closing at a record of $70.40 per barrel the
previous day. That broke the previous intraday high of $70.85 per barrel, set
on Aug. 30, 2005.
Meanwhile, in London, prices for North Sea Brent crude
jumped 74 cents to an all-time high of $72.20 per barrel.
The Associated Press reported that experts are
blaming the increases on a number of factors, including the ongoing conflict in
Iraq, escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran, and supply disruptions
caused by violence in Nigeria.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries issued a
report on April 18 showing a decrease in its demand forecast for 2006. Demand
for the rest of the year is now expected to increase by 1.42 million barrels a
day, rather than the previously forecast 1.46 million barrels per day.
However, The AP reported that this news did little to
rein in the increase in oil prices on the trading markets. In fact, analysts
told The AP that the markets remain jittery because crude oil production
is barely keeping up with world demand, leaving little room for error if there
is a prolonged supply disruption.