Oil futures climbed to a new record near $143 a barrel Friday as the dollar weakened against the euro, confirming expectations that the falling greenback, a major factor in crude’s stratospheric rise, will extend its decline and add to oil’s appeal.


Oil futures climbed to a new record near $143 a barrel Friday as the dollar weakened against the euro, confirming expectations that the falling greenback, a major factor in crude’s stratospheric rise, will extend its decline and add to oil’s appeal.

Retail gas prices inched lower overnight, but are likely to resume their own trek into record territory now that oil futures have broken out of the trading range where they had been for nearly 3 weeks.

Light, sweet crude for August delivery rose as high as $142.99 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange before pulling back sharply in a spate of late-day profit-taking to settle up 57 cents at a record $140.21.

The market now believes the Federal Reserve is unlikely to raise interest rates in the near future; since higher rates tend to strengthen the dollar, traders are anticipating it will continue to fall and investors will keep turning to commodities including oil as a hedge against inflation.