Crude prices weaken as US inventories rise to 1993 levels

Crude oil prices have weakened by over one dollar to US$52.7 on the Nymex, on release of report showing a rise by 3.3 million barrels, increasing crude inventories to 1993 levels. The EIA has reported crude inventories rose to 356.6 mln barrels, which is 15.6% above year-ago levels. Stockpiles are now at their highest level since July 23, 1993. In London Brent prices dipped to settle at US$51.75 on the ICE Futures exchange. However, national retail gasoline prices have reached their highest level since Nov. 21 and are set to surpass US$2 by Friday. Oil prices have risen by 30% this month despite a hike in supplies, mainly on gains in stock markets, optimism about a US government plan to buy up toxic assets from banks. A weaker dollar has also caused investors to flee to commodities like oil.
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