World oil prices continued their daily record-breaking run on Thursday, reaching a fresh intraday peak near $ 124 a barrel despite a larger-than-expected rise in US crude stocks.
The record of $ 123.87 reached by New York's main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for June delivery, slightly exceeded the old intraday high of $ 123.80 reached on Wednesday at the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The contract later traded six cents lower at $ 123.47 a barrel in Asia from its record close of $ 123.53 in New York.
Brent North Sea crude for June delivery was seven cents lower at $ 122.25 a barrel.
In London on Wednesday the contract touched an all-time peak of $ 122.70, before settling up $ 2.01 at $ 122.32.
Oil prices crashed through records every day this week, jumping at least seven dollars.
"Right now the market is trading by momentum as market participants tend to selectively focus on bullish news," said Victor Shum, senior principal at Purvin and Gertz energy consultancy in Singapore.
"Heady prices point to a significant risk of a correction," he said.
Some economists fear that surging oil prices could crimp US economic growth, and Wall Street tumbled yesterday after the latest spike in oil prices. The Dow Jones Industrial Average of blue chips closed down 1.59 per cent while the technology-laden Nasdaq composite finished down 1.80 per cent.
America is the world's biggest oil importer, which has been threatened by a long-running housing market slump and a related credit squeeze.