Oil prices hit five-month highs

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Oil prices rose on Wednesday, reaching five-month highs above 85 dollars here, as the dollar slumped, offsetting news of a bigger-than-expected increase in US energy inventories.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in November reached 85.88 dollars a barrel -- the highest level since May 5. It later stood at 85.57 dollars -- up 73 cents compared with Tuesday's close.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for November won 82 cents to 83.64 dollars a barrel. Earlier on Wednesday it struck 84.09 dollars, last reached on May 4.

Prices rose as the dollar slumped to eight-month lows against the euro and gold hit record highs as investors bet that the US authorities would have to take more stimulus measures to keep an unsteady recovery on track.

The dollar came under additional pressure after a US report showed unexpected private sector job losses in September, highlighting the serious problems facing the economy.

Official data meanwhile showed a larger-than-forecast jump in US crude inventories. The US Department of Energy said crude stockpiles rose 3.1 million barrels last week in the United States -- the world's biggest energy consumer.

Analysts had predicted a gain of only 300,000 barrels.


© 2010 AFP

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