Source Pravda.Ru

Oil prices set five-month low after US crude stocks dropped

Oil prices held firm on Friday after leaping almost $2 a day earlier on news U.S. crude stocks sank to a five-month low last week and distillate fuels barely grew ahead of winter.

U.S. light crude gained 11 cents to $44.72 a barrel, after ending more than four percent higher on Thursday, led by speculative funds. &to=http://english.pravda.ru/economics/2003/03/26/45093.html' target=_blank>Prices are now just $4.68 below last month's record highs and up around 35 percent on the start of the year.

London Brent crude rose almost $2 to end at $42.22 a barrel.

Prices rose after the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said commercial crude oil stocks fell by 1.4 million barrels last week to 285.7 million, reports Reuters.

According to BBC in August, the price of US light crude almost reached $50, with the price breaking records on a daily basis.

Worries about Iraqi supplies in the face of sabotage, as well as about a recall referendum for president Hugo Chavez of key producer Venezuela, had conspired with predictions of high demand to push oil prices higher.

These fears also opened up opportunities for speculative dealing, which Opec leaders suggest has added $7 to the price in recent months.