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OPEC’s Crude Basket Sets Longest Stretch Above $100 a Barrel

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March 19 (Bloomberg) -- The average price of benchmark OPEC crudes held above $100 a barrel for a 173rd trading day, the gauge’s longest-ever stretch at this level.

The so-called OPEC basket, a weighted average of the main grades produced by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, was at $106.36 a barrel yesterday. Its spell at higher than $100 since July 17 surpasses a previous 168-day record set from Feb. 21, 2011, to Sept. 30 that year.

Brent, used to price more than half of the world’s crude, climbed as high as $119.17 on Feb. 8 amid signs of economic recovery in the U.S. and China, and concern that political conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa may lead to a disruption in supplies. OPEC members earned in excess of $1 trillion from oil sales for the second straight year in 2012.

The OPEC Reference Basket of Crudes is composed of Saharan Blend from Algeria, Girassol from Angola, Oriente from Ecuador, Iran Heavy from the Islamic republic of Iran, Basra Light from Iraq, Kuwait Export from Kuwait, Es Sider from Libya, Bonny Light from Nigeria, Qatar Marine from Qatar, Arab Light from Saudi Arabia, Murban from the United Arab Emirates and Merey from Venezuela.

To contact the reporter on this story: Grant Smith in London at gsmith52@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Raj Rajendran at rrajendran4@bloomberg.net

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