Weaker dollar lifts oil prices

New York (AFP) – Oil prices rose Monday as the attractiveness of a weaker dollar offset news of higher crude production by Saudi Arabia.

The US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate for May delivery, closed 88 cents higher at $ 47.45 a barrel.

In London, Brent North Sea crude for May added 60 cents, settling at $ 55.92 a barrel.

Buyers were lured into the market by the weaker dollar, which makes dollar-priced crude relatively cheaper.

“A further decline in the US dollar index is supporting a wider round of buying across the global commodity space, with crude oil attracting some share,” said Tim Evans of Citi Futures.

Oil futures had fallen earlier in the day after Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi cited a recent increase in production, showing the OPEC kingpin remains committed to competing for market share.

Bloomberg News quoted Naimi as saying Sunday that his country, the leading producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, is pumping almost 10 million barrels of crude a day, compared to 9.85 million barrels a day in February.

Naimi called on oil producers outside OPEC to help boost falling prices as the cartel refuses to bear that burden alone.

“We refuse to take responsibility alone because (OPEC) produces 30 percent of market output and 70 percent comes from outside,” Naimi said in remarks reported by the Saudi Press Agency.

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