Oil nears record $ 106
Record-breaking oil prices spiked close to 106 dollars on Thursday after the market was rattled by news of a small explosion in New York and following a surprise fall US crude stockpiles.
New York's main oil contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April hit 105.96 dollars per barrel, extending gains above 105 dollars after topping the previous record of 104.95 dollars set on Wednesday.
Brent North Sea crude for April jumped to 102.95 dollars, beating its previous all-time peak of 102.29 dollars set on Monday.
Police cordoned off a section of New York's Times Square early Thursday after a small explosion struck near a military recruiting station, officials said.
"The spike (in prices) may have been a bullish, knee-jerk reaction to that (news)," said Societe Generale analyst Mike Wittner.
A New York Police Department spokesman said only that there had been a minor explosion, that there were no injuries and that police were investigating the cause of the blast. He said he did not know if the explosion was man-made.
A man on a bicycle is believed to have thrown a "small incendiary device" at a police officer, according to a local Eyewitness News report.
Local reports said the explosion came at around 4:00 am (0900 GMT) and that subway services to the square, one of the city's main transport hubs, had been suspended, although officials were not immediately available to confirm this.