World oil prices soared to all-time highs Thursday in New York and London, as investors bet that rising demand for oil will outstrip supply.
The New York price of oil for future delivery went as high as 57 dollars and 50 cents a barrel in early trading Thursday. (In London, Brent crude rose to 56 dollars and 15 cents a barrel).
The surging oil price came even though the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries raised its official production quotas at a meeting in Iran on Wednesday.
Analysts say China, India, the United States, and other nations are all seeking additional oil to power their expanding economies, but OPEC has little unused capacity to supply additional crude oil.
World oil prices climbed even higher Thursday, hitting a record 56 dollars and 69 cents a barrel during Asian trading.
The Asian markets were following the trend set in New York and London Wednesday, after a U.S. government report showed inventories of gasoline in the United States declined more than expected.
The surge in prices came even though the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said it will raise its self-imposed production quotas. The 11-member oil cartel made the decision at a meeting in Iran. However, analysts noted that OPEC is already pumping oil in excess of the new quota, meaning no additional supplies will be available.
OPEC provides about 40 percent of the world's oil.