Renewed supply threats and a weaker dollar have spiked oil prices beyond US$120 per barrel. Light, sweet crude for June delivery touched a new trading record of US$120.36 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange before retreating to US$119.97.
Supply outages/threats emerged in Iraq, Nigeria and Iran on Monday; causing prices to spike. The record high crude levels have raised concerns about higher prices for gasoline and goods and services throughout the economy. Gas prices have already been propelled to unmatched levels, prompting consumers to reconsider summer vacation plans and limit day excursions. Americans are already under pressure from tight credit conditions, a sluggish jobs market and a downturn in the housing market.
In Iraq, Kurdish rebels warned they could launch suicide attacks against American interests to punish the U.S. for sharing intelligence with Turkey after Turkey bombed rebel bases in Iraq on Friday. In Nigeria, attackers hit an oil facility belonging to Royal Dutch Shell PLC Shell's joint venture in southern Nigeria and that some oil production has been shut down. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said his country will not bend to international pressure and give up its nuclear program.