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Oil climbs above $60 after US stocks, Iran report

World crude oil prices jump above $60 per barrel after stronger-than-expected falls to some US energy stockpiles.

world Updated:

World crude oil prices jumped above $60 per barrel on Thursday after stronger-than-expected falls to some US energy stockpiles.

They jumped also as the United States expressed disappointment at an apparent failure by Iran, a major producer of crude, to suspend uranium enrichment.

In London, the price of Brent North Sea crude for April delivery rallied 90 cents to $60.25 per barrel in electronic deals.

New York's main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, advanced 83 cents to $60.90 per barrel in pit trading.

Traders reacted the latest snapshot of US energy stockpiles.

US reserves of crude oil jumped in the past week but inventories of key refined products slumped, according to government data.

Crude oil reserves surged by 3.7 million barrels in the week ending February 16 to 327.6 million barrels, the Department of Energy said. Analysts had predicted a gain of just 1.3 million barrels.

But the report also showed that distillate inventories, which comprise heating oil and diesel, fell 5.0 million barrels to 128.3 million over a week in which much of the United States was gripped by a cold snap.

Market watchers expected a smaller distillates drop of 2.88 million barrels, but the DoE noted that their levels "are at the upper end of the average range for this time of year.

First Published: Feb 23, 2007 01:52 IST