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Latest update : 2008-03-06

Oil prices surged past 105 dollars on the New York market for the first time as traders reacted to a surprisingly sharp fall in US crude reserves and the plunging US dollar.

Oil prices surged past 105 dollars for the first time on Thursday as traders reacted to a surprisingly sharp fall in US crude reserves and the plunging US dollar, analysts said.

New York's main oil contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April hit 105.10 dollars per barrel, topping the previous record of 104.95 dollars set on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Brent North Sea crude for April spiked to 102.29 dollars, matching the all-time peak that was hit on Monday.

The US Department of Energy said Wednesday that American crude inventories tumbled 3.1 million barrels last week, marking the first weekly drop for one and a half months.

The news shook the market which had been expecting a gain of 2.4 million barrels and sent New York crude spiking close to 105 dollars.

On the foreign exchange market on Thursday, meanwhile, the euro hit a record high point at 1.5347 dollars.

Dollar-priced raw materials like oil tend to gain from the weak US unit because a fall in the dollar makes them cheaper for buyers using other, stronger currencies.

Oil was also pressured after the OPEC crude exporters' cartel decided Wednesday to maintain current output levels despite calls from the West for a hike to help dampen runaway prices that threaten economic growth.

Date created : 2008-03-06