Oil prices ease after rise to US$100

Oil prices eased Thursday after soaring to touch a record US$100 a barrel overnight due to escalating violence in Africa's leading oil producer, a weaker US dollar and a view that global demand for oil will outstrip supplies. "We're so close to US$100 right now," said Victor Shum, an energy analyst with Purvin & Gertz in Singapore. "If the US inventory report indeed shows stock draws, and particularly bigger than expected draws, plus a heightening of geopolitical risks and a falling US dollar, all these factors could push pricing beyond US$100," he said.