Oil prices hit new peak above $145 US dollars

Singapore (AFP) - Oil prices broke through 145 dollars a barrel for the first time on Thursday, with Brent North Sea crude for August delivery at 145.01 dollars in Asian trade.

The contract was up 75 cents from its close of 144.26 dollars in London the previous day, when the contract surged through 144 dollars for the first time.

New York’s benchmark futures contract, light sweet crude for August delivery, was 70 cents higher at 144.27 dollars a barrel from its record close of 143.57 dollars on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday.

Analysts said a weaker US dollar, and data that revealed a drop in stockpiles of US crude, helped push prices higher.

The US Energy Information Administration said Wednesday that stockpiles of crude had fallen by 2.0 million barrels in the week to June 27.

Global oil prices have doubled in the past year and have risen by 45 percent since the start of 2008 when they breached 100 dollars for the first time, triggering fears over inflation and slower economic growth.

Protests against the soaring prices have also broken out around the world.

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