Oil higher amid IEA warning on $100 price

Oil rose in Asian trade Wednesday as the International Energy Agency warned that high crude prices posed a risk to the global economy.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for February delivery, gained 19 cents to $91.57 and Brent North Sea crude for March delivery was two cents higher at $97.82.

The IEA in its monthly report Tuesday said “recent price levels already pose a real economic risk — something of deep concern to producers and consumers alike”.

Recent trading has seen crude rally to near $100 a barrel — a mark first breached January 2008 — fuelled by the expectation of strong demand as the global economic recovery continues.

“Global demand conditions remain extremely strong, supporting prices at current levels, while OPEC’s stance that the market remains well supplied adds to its reluctance to increase production to meet that growing demand,” analysts from Barclays Capital said in a report.

Oil prices of $100 a barrel represent a burden of five percent of gross domestic product on the global economy, the IEA calculated, and said such levels in the past “have clearly been associated with economic problems.”

“Ultimately, oil producers, financial investors and consumers (notably import-dependent developing countries) all suffer under such a scenario,” the IEA report said.