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Last Updated: Friday, 21 April 2006, 21:16 GMT 22:16 UK
Oil continues its inexorable rise
A woman points to a graph showing the recent surge in oil prices
The oil price trajectory continues to be upwards
Crude oil breached the $75 a barrel mark in New York on Friday, on persistent fears that demand will squeeze global supplies.

US-Iran tensions and Nigerian supply concerns are also driving the market.

The benchmark contract for June delivery of light, sweet crude closed at $75.17, after the May contract expired on Thursday at the $71.95 mark.

In London the price of Brent North Sea closed at $74.57, after hitting a record $74.79 earlier on Friday.

US oil prices have increased around $12 a barrel this year on supply concerns as investment funds plough billions of dollars into commodities.

"The energy market remains in a very bullish trend," said Tom Bentz, senior analyst at BNP Paribas Commodity Futures in New York

Iranian factor

The Opec group of oil-producing nations has pumped 29.9 million barrels per day (bpd) so far this month, an increase of 100,000 bpd from March, tanker-tracking consultancy Petrologistics said on Friday.

The ongoing row between Iran and the US over Tehran's nuclear programme have caused concerns about the future of supplies from the world's fourth biggest exporter.

On Friday the Iranian president said Iran should rely on domestically produced petrol from September, thus making it less liable to be affected by any sanctions.

In Washington, ministers from oil producing countries will join finance ministers and central bankers from the world's seven biggest industrialised nations at the G7.

Top of the agenda will be the effect of record oil prices on global trade imbalances and interest rate levels, analysts said.




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