Page last updated at 20:47 GMT, Friday, 11 July 2008 21:47 UK

Oil hits new high on Iran fears

Worker checks over oil pumps in Iran
Oil prices have spiralled higher in recent days

Crude oil has jumped to new record highs above $147, driven by ongoing geopolitical concerns over Iran.

US light sweet crude rose to highs of $147.27, before dipping back to $145.08. In London, Brent crude climbed to $147.02, before settling at $144.49.

Market experts put the increase down to concerns about Opec member Iran's recent missile tests, concerns about global supplies and the weak dollar.

As a result, oil prices have jumped more than $10 in the past two days.

On Thursday, oil prices surged by almost $6 on the back of worries about missle tests by Iran - the second largest member of oil producing cartel Opec.

A day earlier, the country successfully test-fired long and medium-range missiles adding to concerns about Tehran's disputed nuclear programme.

Violence fears

Traders are also said to be concerned about global supplies after a Nigerian militant group said it would call off a ceasefire following a UK offer to help quell violence in the oil-rich Delta.

The group - the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) - has been behind a series of high profile attacks on oil installations and kidnaps of expatriate oil workers in the past which has contributed to oil production in the country falling by around a quarter.

Meanwhile the weaker dollar has also made oil an attractive prospect for market players as it is cheaper for buyers using stronger currencies, analysts said.

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