NEW YORK: World oil prices ended trading for 2008 below $45 a barrel in New York, rose 14 percent on the final trading day in thin pre-holiday trade.
US crude oil futures for February settled up $5.57 to $44.60 per barrel, but were down 54% from the $95.98 on the last day in 2007.
In London, February Brent crude jumped $5.44 to end the year at $45.59 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
In other Nymex trading, gasoline futures rose 12.29 cents, to settle at $1.01 a gallon. Heating oil rose 11.77 cents to settle at $1.4057 a gallon, while natural gas for February delivery tumbled 23.7 cents to settle at $5.622 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Last year saw record high prices in July above $147 a barrel crash to the year’s low of $32.40 on 19 December as the global recession dissolved world demand.
Weekly US inventory data on Wednesday showed a decline in refinery activity and a 500,000 barrel rise in crude stocks, compared with forecasts for a 1.5 million barrel decrease.
Inventories of refined products also rose, though less than analysts had expected.Gasoline stockpiles increased by 800,000 barrels, less than forecasts for a 1.5 million barrel build, while distillates rose by 700,000 barrels, below expectations for a 1.1 million barrel increase.
Demand for both gasoline and distillates, which include heating oil, was lower than the same time a year ago, extending the trend for reduced consumption.