In October 2004 a barrel of North Sea oil fetched more than 50 dollars for the fi rst time. Hardly ten months later, on 1 August 2005, the spot price for Brent crude oil reached a new all-time high when it broke the 60-dollar barrier. Consumers facing this new oil price record may take some comfort from the fact that in real terms – i.e. in relation to export prices for manufactured goods – oil prices are currently still lower than the peak levels seen in the early 1980s. Buyers in the euro area profi t from their still relatively strong currency, as 60 dollars were the equivalent of only 50 euros in early August.
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