Oil prices resume upward march as dollar weakens

Oil prices rose across markets today on a weaker dollar and improving economic data from China and the United States – the two biggest crude oil consumers – as well as European economic powerhouse Germany.

Oil traded near the highest level in three days in New York as speculation that supplies from Iran would be disrupted countered concerns that economic growth may again slow.
Futures were little changed after earlier advancing as much as 0.7 per cent and are up 2 per cent this week.

Oil prices rose in Asian trade while New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in February gained 43 cents to $101.14 in morning trade.
Brent North Sea crude for March delivery was up 26 cents at $111.79.

A weaker greenback makes dollar-priced crude more attractive to traders using other currencies, boosting demand and pushing prices up.

In the US, sentiment was also boosted by the Federal Reserve's Empire State index of manufacturing activity in New York, which showed a pick-up in January that exceeded expectations.

Iran last week called on Saudi Arabia to be ''more wise and responsible'' after the kingdom said it could make up for any supply loss resulting from a European ban on imports of Iranian crude.

The World Bank cut its global growth forecast by the most in three years, saying a recession in the euro region may exacerbate a slowdown in emerging markets.