Oil prices surged to a new high for the year on Friday as investors felt more confident about the wider economy.
Light, sweet crude for October delivery rose 98 cents to settle at 73.89 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Oil prices briefly touched a new 2009 high of 74.72 dollars a barrel after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said that economic activity in both the United States and around the world appears to be “leveling out,” and “the prospects for a return to growth in the near term appear good.”
Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors reported that home resales in July rose for the fourth consecutive month, showing that the most-battered housing sector was recovering, which pushed oil prices higher.
Losses in the U.S. dollar against other currencies and gains on equities markets also added to the advance of the crude oil.
In London, Brent Crude for October delivery rose 93 cents to 74. 26 dollars a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange. – pna