Oil prices vaulted to a record $100 a barrel on Wednesday as violence in Nigeria, tight energy stockpiles and a weaker dollar triggered a surge of speculative buying, dealers said.
Oil's climb to the psychologically key triple-digit price helped send stocks tumbling on Wall Street and further darkened an already gloomy economic outlook in the United States, which has been battered by a housing crisis and credit crunch.
"Oil hitting $100 a barrel has sparked some concerns about the consumer and inflation," said Todd Salamone, vice-president of research at Schaeffer's Investment Research.
US crude traded once at $100 a barrel, up $4,02, before easing back to settle $3,64 higher at $99,62. It remains below the inflation-adjusted high of $101,70 hit in April 1980, a year after the Iranian revolution.
London Brent crude rose $3,99 to $97,84.
Crude prices jumped 58% in 2007, the biggest annual gain this decade. Oil prices have nearly tripled since 2000 -- driven by rising demand in China and other developing countries, tight stockpiles and geopolitical turmoil.
extracts from M&G article here