Oil zooms above $71 a barrel as OPEC keeps output unchanged

Prices of crude oil have shot above $72 a barrel after a meeting of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on Wednesday decided to leave production levels unchanged.

Crude prices rose to near $72 levels on Thursday after reports of a fall in US oil inventories, analysts said.

US crude buffer stock declined by a higher-than-expected 7.2 million barrels during the week ended 4 September, the American Petroleum Institute reported late on Wednesday.

Light sweet crude for October delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 40 cents and was ruling at $71.71 a barrel in Singapore trading.

North Sea Brent crude for October delivery rose 22 cents to $70.05 a barrel.

Crude October futures rose 59 cents, or 0.8 per cent to $71.90 a barrel in electronic trading on Globex. The contract hit an intraday high of $72.44 a barrel earlier.