WTI had reached an intra-day high of $105.97 and a low of $99.88 during a volatile day on the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex), following Wednesday's record closing price of $104.56.
ICE Brent crude for April delivery rose by $1.01 to settle at $102.65 per barrel after reaching $102.95 per barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.
Analysts have put the price moves down to a rejection by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) of calls to increase supply at the cartel's meeting in Vienna Wednesday, while the dollar continues to plunge against the Euro. Geopolitical tensions between Ecuador, Venezuela and Colombia are also weighing on sentiment, following a Columbian raid against Ecuador-based rebels.
Weaker than expected inventory data has also compounded the issue. On Wednesday, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showed a 3.1 million barrel drop in crude stocks, against analysts' forecast for an increase, resutling in an intra-day jump of $5.04 in the WTI contract. Analysts noted that such drawdowns were inviting more speculators into the market.
"While there is little question the market is technically overbought and running well ahead of the fundamentals, trying to gauge the top in this market has so far met with very little success," said MF Global's John Kilduff.
"Unless the dollar can stage a major recovery, fund buying ebbs, geopolitical risks ease or there is a more profound economic slow down threat, the market's trend will likely remain up and an eventual move to the $110 to $115 price range can't be ruled out."
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