As Hurricane Ike headed towards key energy facilities on the southern US coast, oil prices rose in Asian trade. New York's main contract, light sweet crude for October delivery rose to US$103.8, while Brent North Sea crude rose to US$99.3.
Texas has ordered coastal evacuations as Ike strengthened to a Category Two storm in the Gulf of Mexico and headed toward the southern US coast after ravaging Cuba and the Caribbean. As per a forecast, Ike could slam into the Texas coast late Friday or early Saturday as a stronger storm.
OPEC has announced a surprise decision to cut output by 520,000 bpd in an attempt to keep oil prices above the 100-dollar mark. This decision has been taken to prevent a further drop, despite an economic crisis in consumer countries. The oil producers maintained their official output quotas at the meeting, although the total figure dropped to 28.8 million bpd after Indonesia suspended its membership of the group.