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Crude Oil Futures Trim Gains After IEA Warns of High Prices

Crude oil futures pared gains in choppy trade on Thursday, after the International Energy Agency warned that elevated oil prices could derail the global economic recovery.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in July traded at USD100.28 a barrel during European morning trade, easing up 0.11%.  

It earlier rose by as much as 1% to a daily high of USD101.24 a barrel.

The governing board of the International Energy Agency expressed “serious concern” that there were growing signs that the rise in oil prices was affecting the global economic recovery by widening global imbalances and reducing household and business income.

The Paris-based agency said in a statement released earlier in the day that crude oil prices remain at elevated levels despite a 10% correction since May 5 and added that there was a “clear, urgent need” for additional supplies be made available to prevent a further tightening of the market.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is scheduled to hold its next meeting on June 8 in Vienna. Earlier this month, the organization maintained its view that oil supply and demand remained well balanced.

Data from Japan showing the recent earthquake and tsunami had pushed its economy into recession also weighed. Japan is the world’s third largest crude consumer.

Global financial service provider Bank of America-Merrill Lynch said in a report earlier Thursday that, “oil has undergone a severe correction in the past two weeks and prices are likely to remain volatile on concerns about the economic recovery in the U.S. and unresolved sovereign debt issues in the euro zone.”

Crude’s earlier gains came amid receding concerns over a slowdown in U.S. oil demand, following an unexpected drop in U.S. crude stockpiles last week.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil futures for July delivery added 0.33% to trade at USD112.44 a barrel, up USD12.16 on its U.S. counterpart.

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