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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 March, 2003, 07:03 GMT
Oil marches higher again
Oil workers at the Maqwa Oil Field, Kuwait
War could shut down some Middle East oil production
Oil has swung higher again after falling almost 10% on Tuesday on hopes of a short war and limited supply disruptions

Light crude in New York traded at $32.29 per barrel in electronic trade at 0456 GMT, after closing down $3.26, or 9.3% at $31.67.

In out-of-hours trade on London's International Petroleum Exchange (IPE), the international benchmark Brent crude rose 75 cents to $28.00 a barrel.

Brent had slumped by $2.23, or 7.6%, to $27.25 per barrel on Tuesday.

President George W Bush's speech on Monday night, giving Saddam Hussein and his sons 48 hours to get out of Iraq, sparked the dramatic falls.

US reserves

Traders are awaiting a report on US weekly petroleum reserves later on Wednesday which are expected to show higher crude stocks but a fall in petrol supplies.

US crude reserves are below 270 million barrels, the government's ideal level for maintaining supply and preventing shocks to the economy.

The recent blockade of Venezuelan producers and high demand due to winter cold snaps has pushed the stocks to 26-year lows.

OPEC President Abdullah al-Attiyah said on Tuesday that the cartel would guarantee supplies if there was a war.

Oil price dips as war nears
18 Mar 03 |  Business
US fuel reserves run to record low
14 Feb 03 |  Business

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