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Crude Oil Traders Excited: $100 A Barrel Within Reach

HOUSTON, TX, Nov 12, 2010 - Crude Oil prices are climbing again, with some experts predicting a return to $100 a barrel soon. While the trend to higher prices is a boon to Houston's vast energy economy, they are sure to cause considerable pain to everyone else. In particular, homeowners in the Northeast, the region most dependent upon home heating oil and already reeling from high prices, could be facing $4.00 per gallon heating oil come January.

On Thursday, prices continued increasing, briefly hitting their highest point in two years and almost touching $90 a barrel before closing unchanged from Wednesday

The run-up since September comes as a Federal Reserve stimulus program weakens the value of the dollar, spurring investors to shift money to commodities, and global energy demand resumes growth. The spike, after months of relative calm in crude markets, is already pushing pump prices higher for Americans.

Analysts differ on whether crude prices have peaked for now or will continue to rise.

"I think we could see a break of $90 and a possible test of $100 over the next month or two," said Matt Smith, analyst with Summit Energy in Louisville, Ky., who sees further momentum from the weak dollar and strengthening economy.

But Alfred Luaces, vice president of Purvin & Gertz in Houston, believes the dollar's value has likely bottomed-out and that crude prices will soften from current levels.

"We think for the moment, it's probably gone high enough, and there's going to be some sell-off," he said.

On Thursday, crude oil for December delivery settled unchanged at $87.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures at one point reached $88.63, the highest midday price since Oct. 9, 2008.

Because two-thirds of the cost for a gallon of gasoline comes from crude oil, pump prices have also been rising along with oil.

Source: Houston Chronicle


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