Oil prices mixed, US signs strong

Thursday 21 April 2011 17.23
Oil prices - Weaker dollar lifts US crude
Oil prices - Weaker dollar lifts US crude

US oil prices rose slightly this evening, as the dollar weakened amid signs that US demand remains strong despite rising fuel costs.

US crude rose six cents to $111.45 a barrel, though in London, Brent crude gave up 14 cents to $123.71.

The dollar dropped to a 16-month low against the euro. Since oil is priced in dollars, it becomes more attractive to buyers holding foreign currency as the dollar gets weaker.

Energy traders keep looking for signs that demand for oil and gas will increase as the global economic recovery continues. US oil prices are up about 33% since mid-February.

Hopes for rising demand also got a boost today from positive US economic news. Along with upbeat earnings reports from companies like GE and Apple, the Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators rose for the ninth consecutive month. And the Labor Department said weekly claims for unemployment benefits dropped after a sharp jump the previous week.