Oil Hits $104; OPEC Won't Budge

Cartel president blames 'mismanagement' of US economy for rising prices
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2008 3:57 PM CST
An old barrel and other trash litter a dry oil drainage pit Tuesday, March 4, 2008, in the Sakhir, Bahrain, desert. OPEC has virtually ruled out pumping more oil to ease record-high prices, oil ministers...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Crude oil rose to a record $104.52 a barrel today after OPEC decided to hold production steady. “The oil market is currently stable,” said Saudi Arabia’s oil minister. “There is no need to increase even one barrel of oil.” The cartel blamed sky-high prices on “tremendous speculation,” the Wall Street Journal reports. Oil futures were up $5 on the day.

President Bush yesterday called for production increases to help stave off recession in the US; OPEC's president said "mismanagement" of the US economy is more responsible for higher prices than a lack of demand. But, the Journal reports, OPEC might reduce output if the US economy stalls badly enough to temper demand, especially if oil-hungry developing nations are pulled downward.