With no slowdown in demand oil prices continue to surge to record levels.
US light crude hit a new peak of $55.33 a barrel before the price eased slightly. That means it has risen by 67% there since the start of this year. In London Brent crude also reached an all-time high of $50.40 a barrel before falling back slightly. Meanwhile, in a bid to calm the energy markets Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the US central bank, has said the record prices do not yet present a serious threat to the economy there. He did however say they had cut three quarters of one per cent from US GDP and he warned further rises could pose a significant risk, in terms of economic growth and inflation. The latest report from the oil cartel OPEC forecasts increased demand for oil during the rest of this year but reduces its estimate of expected growth next year. In its monthly oil market report it reasons that the high prices will lead to lower demand. OPEC also said that prices will stay high unless industrialised countries urgently start to build more refineries to convert crude oil into petrol, diesel and heating fuel.