Oil prices breach US$98 a barrel

World oil prices spiked past US$98 a barrel, touching record highs, amid supply concerns and weakening of the US dollar against other major currencies. New York's main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for January delivery, rose to US$98.03 per barrel. Brent North Sea crude for January delivery surged 3.21 dollars to settle at US$95.49 per barrel in London. Several analysts believe oil prices could go past US$100 a barrel very shortly, as oil demand continues to be fueled by China and India's rapid economic growth. The European single currency leapt to a historic peak above 1.48 dollars. The weakening dollar makes dollar-denominated commodities like oil cheaper for buyers armed with stronger currencies. The market also continued to focus on the state of global energy supplies. OPEC has opted out of increasing production quotas following a meeting in Saudi Arabia over the weekend, despite supplies being strained ahead of the northern hemisphere winter.
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