Oil prices surpassed $90 a barrel for the first time Thursday as the falling dollar drew new foreign investors and speculators to dollar-denominated energy futures.
Light, sweet crude for November delivery hit $90.02 in electronic trading Thursday evening before returning to around $89.60. Earlier, prices had risen $2.07 to settle at a record $89.47 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
While oil prices have risen sharply in dollar terms in recent days, the steadily weakening dollar means oil futures are seen as a bargain overseas. Data released in recent weeks shows speculative buying of oil futures is on the rise. Buying by foreign investors sends prices up, which draws more speculators into the market.