Crude hits new record high

December West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the benchmark US crude, closed up $2.72 at a record $96.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex), surging to an intra-day high of $97.10/bbl. London Brent gained $2.77, or 3.1 percent, to close at a record $93.26/bbl on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, hitting $93.56/bbl in intraday trading.

A storm forecast to produce 36-foot waves in the North Sea helped drive sentiment, forcing BP Plc and ConocoPhillips to evacuate

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