The OPEC Reference Basket continued its upward movement in August to settle at $109.52/b, pushed higher by the market’s bullish sentiment. Basket components rose by $8.00-1200. ICE Brent front-month prices also increased in August by 10% to settle at $112.68/b, while Nymex WTI rose by 7% to stand at $94.16/b. The return of significantly higher speculative activity, constraints in North Sea supply, declines in crude oil stockpiles in the US, hopes for further monetary easing from major central banks, and geopolitical factors have all contributed to the increase in crude oil prices. Oil markets were also supported by unexpected positive economic data from the US. Weatherrelated factors pushed prices higher, as Hurricane Isaac threatened oil operations in the US Gulf. On 10 September, the OPEC Basket stood at $112.32/b. §Growth expectations for the world economy in 2012 and 2013 remain unchanged at 3.3% and 3.2%, respectively. The US is forecast to grow by 2.3% in 2012 and 2.0% in 2013. Japan is expected to decelerate from 2.7% this year to 1.2% in 2013. The Euro-zone is seen returning to rowth of 0.1%, following a contraction of 0.4% in 2012. Growth expectations for China stand at 8.1% for 2012 and 8.0% in 2013, while India’s expansion is forecast at 6.3% in 2012 and 6.6% in 2013.