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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

OIl Prices Sizzle

LONDON -- Red-hot oil prices sizzled near nine-year highs on Thursday as the West's energy watchdog warned that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries supply curbs will leave the world perilously short of oil in coming months.

World benchmark Brent for March delivery was up 16 cents at $26 a barrel by late morning, near the $26.30 nine-year high struck briefly Wednesday.

Forecasts of a long spell of cold weather in the huge U.S. market has triggered even faster price rises there, moving at one point late Wednesday within 35 cents of the $30 mark.

Fresh gains followed a warning from the International Energy Agency that global inventories slid again in November and December to take stocks of spare oil in industrialized countries to record lows. "The market needs more oil now," the Paris-based group said.