Following a report from the U.S. Department of Energy showing a decline in crude oil supplies, prices shot up and are now being traded at over $74.00 a barrel. While analysts were predicting a decline in supplies, the published figure was well over a million more barrels then forecasted.

Further driving up oil prices was general instability in the Middle East, especially the continuing standoff with Iran over its nuclear program. Looking ahead, prices will likely remain at their current levels for some time, as it appears that no major breakthroughs with Iran are expected to occur in the near future. Traders should pay attention to any major news events coming out of the Middle East, as they are likely to affect the price of crude oil.