SINGAPORE-Oil prices raced above $65 for the first time on record on Thursday, as tightening U.S. gasoline supplies added to anxiety over refinery snags and stability of crude supplies, Reuters reported.
U.S. light sweet crude for September delivery was up 33 cents to a record-high of $65.23 a barrel in Asian trade, also the first time a frontmonth contract was trading above $65 since the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) launched crude futures trading in 1983.
Prices first touched $65 on Wednesday, before settling at $64.90, a bumpy 2.9 percent rise, and the contract”s highest settlement on record.
London Brent also broke new records, trading at over $64 for the first time. The September-delivery contract was up 45 cents at $64.44 in early trade on Thursday.
"Gasoline inventories are down against last year. We have enough stocks for the winter but not for the summer. Therefore for the time being, prices should be at very expensive levels," said Tetsu Emori at Mitsui Bussan Futures.
The weekly U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) report showed on Wednesday a 2.1 million-barrel decline in gasoline stockpiles, sending prices of the motor fuel to a record-high settlement of $1.8963 a gallon, up 4 percent. It was trading at a high of $1.9122 a gallon at 0457 GMT, up 1.59 cents.
"Stocks of finished gasoline have gone from tight to tighter over the past three weeks, drawing from the low of the previous five-year range to, most recently, 6 percent below it. And the refineries just keep breaking down," French Societe Generale said in its weekly comment.
A rash of refinery problems in the United States has contributed to a 1.1 percent fall in refinery utilisation at a time U.S. gasoline demand is running at a robust 1.4 percent higher than a year ago in the past four weeks.