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Oil price slips back from four-year high of $128

High oil prices could derail any plans to kickstart growth agreed by EU leaders at their summit in Brussels

The oil price has slipped back after fears over supply disruptions from Saudi Arabia pushed crude up to a near four-year peak of 8.

High oil prices could derail any plans to kickstart growth agreed by EU leaders at their summit in Brussels.

An Iranian report of a pipeline fire at top exporter Saudi Arabia sparked a buying frenzy on Thursday. The report was later denied by Saudi officials.

Brent crude futures slipped below 6 a barrel on Friday morning, after jumping .54 to 6.20 on Thursday, the highest since 8 April last year. Brent topped 8 a barrel in post-settlement trade, reaching levels not seen since July 2008 when the financial and economic crisis drove oil to record highs of more than 7 a barrel.

Amid the west’s stand-off with Iran over its nuclear programme and fears of supply disruptions elsewhere, markets have been on edge in recent months.

Signs that the US economy is on the road to recovery have also underpinned investor optimism and crude prices. “Investors were buying on Iran fears and on general expectations for a stronger economy,” energy consultant Cameron Hanover said in a report. However, “it’s hard for the economy to grow with gasoline and oil prices as high as they are”.

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