Oil prices in London surged Tuesday to their highest levels in almost 10 years. September contracts for North Sea Brent crude rose $1.32 a barrel to a high of $32.80 on the International Petroleum Exchange, before falling to $32.39 in late trading. Traders blamed the peak on low US inventories and concerns that the world's largest producer, Saudi Arabia, has curbed production. The OPEC member announced last month it was boosting output beyond its agreed quota, but many traders, who now are being offered fewer barrels of Saudi crude, indicated they think the country has reconsidered its aggressive production strategy. Despite Tuesday's surge, analysts said they expected oil prices to ease in the next three to six months. A report from the American Petroleum Institute, which was released after trading ended, found that US oil stocks rose 7.4 million barrels to 286.4 million barrels for the week ending Aug. 11 - more than double expectations.
Media heavyweight Viacom Inc. made a $15.2 billion bid to purchase the 35.7 percent of radio giant Infinity Broadcasting Corp. it doesn't own already. The deal between the two New York-based companies would join Infinity's cash-rich radio and outdoor advertising assets with Viacom's CBS, MTV, and Paramount Studios holdings. Shareholder reaction was mixed.
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