Special Report: Iran Nuclear Crisis
NEW YORK, March 29 (Xinhua) -- World crude oil prices advanced Wednesday to two months high and gasoline futures rose to the highest since Oct. 4, as U.S. gasoline supplies plunged 5.4 million barrels last week.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, added 38 cents to end at 66.45 dollars a barrel, the highest close since Feb. 1.
On London's ICE Futures exchange, the price of Brent North Sea crude for May delivery climbed 58 cents to 65.55 dollars a barrel.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, the heating oil rose 2.43 cents to 1.8520 dollars a gallon as gasoline futures rose 6.97 cents to 1.9542 dollars per gallon, the highest since Oct. 4. Natural gas futures rose 1.9 cents to 7.233 dollars per 1,000 cubic feet.
The Energy Department reported Wednesday that the U.S. commercial crude oil inventories rose 2.1 million barrels to 340.7 million in the week ended March 24. Gasoline supplies, however, plunged 5.4 million barrels last week to 216.2 million barrels.
Analysts were predicting an decrease of only 1.3 million barrels. The fall of gasoline supplies raised concerns about potential shortages ahead of the country's summer driving season.
Traders are still concerned about the possibilities that Iran's oil exports would halt if the United Nations imposes Teheran an international sanction for its nuclear activities. Iran is OPEC's number-two producer behind Saudi Arabia, making four million bpd of oil and exporting 2.4 million bpd. Enditem