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Oil Prices Return To Near-Record Highs

Crude oil prices are back at near-record highs Tuesday after the International Energy Agency, IEA, predicted a tight balance between supply and demand for oil, and tensions grew between Israel and Iran.

The IEA tracks oil issues for industrialized nations, and its latest forecast shows high prices cutting demand from wealthy nations, but continued growth in demand from emerging economies like India and China.

The price of a barrel of crude oil for future delivery rose almost two dollars from Monday's close to nearly $142. Before the close of New York trading on Monday, crude prices hit a record high of $143.67.

Traders said prices also rose in part because of news reports citing the possibility that Israel could attack a nuclear facility in Iran.

Some nations say Iran intends to build a nuclear weapon, but Iran says the program is for peaceful purposes.

The record crude oil prices have brought another record high average retail price for gasoline across the United States. It now costs an average of $1.075 a liter ($4.087 a gallon) for fuel. That is up 30 cents a liter from this time last year.

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