Oil falls back from record
Lowered tension with Iran pushes crude down from highs; oil hits trading high of $75.55 earlier in session.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Oil fell about $1 a barrel Friday on signs of progress in the standoff with Iran over its nuclear program.

Light, sweet crude for August delivery fell $1.05 to close at $74.09 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after hitting a new trading high of $75.55 earlier in the session.

The previous trading high of $75.40 was hit Wednesday, when the August contract closed at $75.19, a record for a front-month futures contract at the exchange.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, said Friday his meeting with the European Union's foreign policy chief this week had been "very fruitful and constructive."

Western powers have demanded Iran make a full reply to an offer of a package of incentives for it to halt nuclear enrichment by a July 15 Group of Eight summit in St Petersburg.

Crude prices have gained 19 percent this year, but so far, higher prices show little impact of crimping demand.

The U.S. uses 40 percent of the world's gasoline and a quarter of its crude oil and high prices haven't kept motorists from taking to the roads during the summer driving season.

On Thursday, the Energy Information Administration's weekly stockpile report showed U.S. gasoline demand increased 1.4 percent over the four weeks to June 30 from a year earlier. The number of drivers was forecast to have risen to a record during the Independence Day holiday.

"In the very near term, it's hard to see the oil price coming down appreciably," David Dugdale of MFC Global Investment Management, told Reuters.

Rebel attacks in Nigeria have shut almost a quarter of the country's output and the Iranian nuclear dispute has raised fears of supply cuts from the world's fourth-largest exporter.

In Nigeria, the world's eighth-largest oil exporter, gunmen on Thursday abducted a Dutch man who was working on an unfinished Shell plant.

-- from staff and wire reports

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