Not a lot Bush can do on oil prices-White House

WASHINGTON Thu Mar 6, 2008 1:51pm EST

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - There is "not a lot" President George W. Bush can do in the near-term to tame record high oil prices after OPEC declined to boost output, the White House said on Thursday.

"We did try to encourage (an increase in OPEC output). But if OPEC has decided they are not going to increase output, there's not a lot that the president can do. We don't control their decisions," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

U.S. oil hit a new record of $105.97 a barrel on Thursday, a day after members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) left their output policy unchanged, ignoring demands from consumers led by the United States for more oil.

White House officials say tight supply is the primary reason behind record-high oil prices, while OPEC ministers point to market speculation.

The sharp fall in the U.S. dollar, jitters in credit and equity markets and rising inflation worries have all driven funds into oil and other commodities, pushing them higher.

(Reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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