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    Oil Prices Rise After Holiday Weekend

    Crude prices top $60 a barrel on hints that OPEC will cut production further.

    NEW YORK -- Crude oil prices exceeded the $60 a barrel mark yesterday, as comments made over the weekend by Saudi Arabia's oil minister hinted at another production cut at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) December meeting, the Wall Street Journal reported.

    Crude oil for December delivery rose 61 cents from market close on Wednesday last week. The report stated that as of mid-day yesterday, crude was at $59.85 a barrel, but had climbed above $60 earlier in the day.

    "Prices will likely remain range bound but volatile as participants attempt daily to determine what weight to give either rising inventories and concerns of softening world demand or the threat of more OPEC production cuts," Michael Fitzpatrick, an analyst at Fimat USA, told the newspaper.

    He added that the threat of additional cuts has become a top concern, "as comments from Saudi Arabia's oil minister suggest the cartel will cut production again in December if oil markets do not stabilize."

    Ali Naimi, Saudi Arabia's oil minister told the London-based Al-Hayat that the country could support another output cut by OPEC if the original 1.2 million barrel a day cut failed to stabilize prices, the Journal reported. OPEC will meet in Nigeria on Dec. 14.

    As a result, December unleaded gasoline futures rose $1.12 to $1.60 a gallon.

    But retailers can breathe a sigh of relief as one concern has left gas prices unaffected. "We officially are at the end of the hurricane season for 2006 as of this week Thursday," Phil Flynn, a senior analyst at Alaron Trading told the Journal. This year marks the "first time since 1997 that we had no category four or five storms develop."

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