Skip to main content

Oil Prices Push Higher

The benchmark U.S. crude holds $48 a barrel after a 4% surge Thursday.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

Updated from 1:12 p.m. EST

Crude oil prices closed modestly higher Friday, touching a two-month high Thursday as short-term supply worries re-emerged as a market concern.

The February futures contract was up 34 cents at $48.38 in a somewhat volatile floor trading on the Nymex.

The benchmark U.S. crude surged about 4% Thursday as traders reacted to hits to production in Iraq and Norway. In addition, a wave of very cold weather heading toward the northern U.S. this week -- after a two-week wave of warmer-than-usual temperatures -- drew attention to heating oil supplies. With demand at a seasonal peak, weather patterns frequently play a key role in determining prices.

Traders continue to speculate about whether OPEC will agree on another round of production cutbacks at its Jan. 30 meeting in Vienna, having already cut production by 1 million barrels a day at the beginning of this month.

The benchmark U.S. crude has been charging higher in recent weeks after suffering a steep price correction that took it some 25% below the record price of $55 a barrel in late October.