Singapore, August 8:

Crude futures rose to a new high today, reaching nearly $63 a barrel, as the US announced closure of its embassy and consulates in Saudi Arabia due to security threats and on continued concerns that earlier shutdowns of US oil refineries would reduce supply. Late afternoon in Singapore, light, sweet crude for September delivery on the New York Mercantile

Exchange rose as high as $62.90 in Asian electronic trading before slipping back a bit to $62.87. On Friday, crude settled at $62.31 a barrel, a record close for crude since Nymex trading began in 1983. That’s at least 40 per cent higher than a year ago, though crude prices would have to surpass $90 to reach the inflation-adjusted high set in 1980. September Brent crude futures on London’s International Petroleum Exchange also hit a new front-month record high of $61.75 a barrel in electronic trading before falling slightly to $61.66. The market was on edge as traders closely monitored geopolitical developments in Saudi Arabia following yesterday’s announcement of a security threat against US government buildings. A week ago, the death of the country’s king sent futures sharply higher, even though most analysts believe there would be little change in the oil policies of Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest petroleum producer. The planned closure today and tomorrow of the US embassy in Riyadh and consulates in Jiddah and Dhahran was ‘in response to a threat against US government buildings’ in the kingdom, the embassy said.