Oil at record $68 as demand soars

Demand is strong and refinery capacity is limited

Oil prices have hit a record $68 a barrel after the US reported a fall in gasoline stocks, while China said its crude imports had risen sharply.

Fears that tropical storm Katrina might hit production in the Gulf of Mexico also pushed the cost of oil higher.

US light crude touched $68 a barrel in Asian trade on Thursday before slipping back to $66.95. In London, Brent crude hit $66.56 before falling to $65.69.

Demand from the US, China and India is expected to keep oil prices high.