IEA says high crude-oil prices a 'serious concern' (by V. Phani Kumar)
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- The governing board of the International Energy Agency Thursday expressed "serious concern" about growing signs that the rise in oil prices since September were affecting the economic recovery. The IEA urged producers to help avoid the negative consequences from high energy prices and said it "welcomes commitments to increase supply." The board noted that high oil prices were widening global imbalances, reducing household and business income, and placing upward pressure on inflation and interest rates. The agency noted that crude-oil prices remain at elevated levels despite a 10% correction since May 5. The IEA added that enhancing "consumer-producer dialogue is urgently important" to reach both short- and long-term solutions. Nymex front-month crude-oil futures were recently down 36 cents at $99.74 a barrel, pulling back after reclaiming the $100-a-barrel level overnight.