World oil prices hit record highs for the fifth day in a row Friday.

The price of crude oil for future delivery reached $67 a barrel in New York trading.

Prices are up six percent this week and have more than doubled since the end of 2003.

Analysts blame the latest increases on strong demand for oil, a spate of refinery problems, and worries that Middle East tensions could crimp crude oil supplies.

Soaring prices for imported oil also boosted the U.S. trade deficit six percent in June.

Friday's report from the Commerce Department says the gap between what Americans sell abroad and what they buy reached $58.8 billion.

The politically sensitive U.S. trade deficit with China rose to a record $17.6 billion.

Some information for this story provided by AFP and Reuters.