The price for Brent crude oil topped $124 per barrel on Thursday, with the potential for even higher prices thanks to steady U.S. demand. ICE Brent crude futures for June were up by $0.22 per barrel to $124.07 in morning European trading; the U.S. oil benchmark garnered an increase of $0.48 to $111.93 by the same time.
Reuters reported that U.S. crude and product inventories both dropped on Wednesday, implying that prices were not yet high enough to affect consumption patterns. Christophe Barret, oil analyst at Credit Agricole, was quoted in the report saying, "The data from the U.S. was supportive since we have no indication of falling demand. High prices aren't yet taking their toll."
Just a few more dollars, however, will bring the price to oils 32-month high of $127 per barrel; this level is said by consumer country reps to push demand down. Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of the International Energy Agency, said on Wednesday that demand was already lower, and that OPEC should boost output by June to put a cap on price increases.