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27.03.2007 Business & Finance

Oil Briefly Reaches $63 A Barrel

Crude oil prices briefly touched $63 a barrel yestereday on continued tensions between Iran and the West following Iran's detention of British naval personnel.

Recent declines in U.S. oil inventories also supported the market.

Light, sweet crude for May delivery rose 72 cents to $63 a barrel in morning trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The Brent crude contract for May delivery gained $1.03 to $64.21 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

The contract hit a three-month high last Friday to close at $62.28 a barrel after Iran detained the sailors, sparking concerns that an escalation in the conflict could cut Persian Gulf oil exports.

In other Nymex trading, heating oil futures gained nearly 3.5 cents to $1.7460 a gallon, while natural gas prices slipped a fraction of a cent to $7.263 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gasoline futures rose 3.9 cents to $2.0375 a gallon. Earlier in trading, gasoline hit $2.0440 a gallon, a level not seen since September 5.

Source — Associated Press