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Oil Prices Soar Towards $100 Per Barrel

The price of crude oil continued to soar to new record highs Thursday after a government report on Wednesday showed a drop in U.S. crude supplies.

The cost of a barrel of crude oil rose as high as $96.24 in after-hours electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Some market analysts tell journalists that oil could rise above $100 a barrel or higher.

Oil is priced in dollars, so the falling value of the U.S. currency is putting upward pressure on prices. Wednesday saw the dollar hit an all-time low against the euro of around $1.45. The U.S. central bank's recent interest rate cut makes the dollar less attractive to investors because it can reduce their rate of return.

Some members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries say they probably will not further increase supplies of oil. They say high prices are a result of speculation by investors, not a shortage of oil. OPEC has already agreed to increase oil supplies by half a million barrels a day, starting today. The oil cartel is set to meet in Saudi Arabia in a few weeks to discuss oil supplies and prices.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.