Oil prices push higher as Fed stimulus supports

Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:05pm EDT
 
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By Robert Gibbons

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Friday but settled below four-month highs hit in the session as concerns that high energy costs could threaten economic growth tempered hopes for stronger demand after the Federal Reserve launched its latest economic stimulus program.

Brent crude rose a seventh straight session and Brent and U.S. crude futures posted weekly gains as the dollar fell broadly, dropping to a four-month low versus the euro, after the Fed's Thursday announcement of a third bond-buying program. <USD/>

A weaker U.S. currency is usually supportive to dollar-denominated commodities such as oil and industrial feedstock copper, which jumped to a 4-1/2 month peak. <MET/L>

Equities also received a lift from the U.S. central bank's action, with U.S. stocks up a fourth straight day and European shares jumping to a 14-month high. .N .EU

"The market is exhausted after rising so much, and the IEA (International Energy Agency) economist worrying about high oil prices probably helped pull prices back some," said Dan Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

Current oil prices could push the global economy into recession, Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency said on Friday.

Birol said Europe and China are most vulnerable to high prices but declined to say whether this latest price jump could prompt the IEA to release oil reserves. He said the agency was monitoring markets very closely.

Front-month November Brent crude rose 78 cents to settle at $116.66 a barrel, after reaching $117.95, the highest since prices reached touched $118.45 on May 3.   Continued...

 
Gas pumps are seen at a petrol station in Prague May 10, 2012. REUTERS/David W Cerny