Oil soared to a record above US$145 a barrel Thursday in Asia, fueled by concerns over a larger than expected drop in U.S. stockpiles and the threat of conflict with Iran.
The latest spike means a barrel of crude has gone up by more than half since the end of last year, when oil was going for US$96 a barrel.
Expectations that the European Central Bank will raise interest rates later Thursday is expected to weaken the U.S. dollar and drive oil prices even higher, as investors turn to commodities as a hedge against a falling greenback, traders said.
Prices may also be lifted with increased buying before U.S. oil markets close Friday for the Fourth of July holiday.
Late afternoon in Singapore, light, sweet crude for August delivery was up US$1.28 at US$144.85 a barrel in Asian electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier in the session, it rose as high as US$145.09 a barrel, a trading record.