Oil prices rose to almost $72 (U.S.) a barrel Thursday, helped by a weaker U.S. dollar, steady OPEC production levels and a new report predicting a less severe slump this year in global oil demand.
By midday in Europe, benchmark crude for October delivery was up 50 cents to $71.81 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier in the day, the contract peaked at $72.44. On Wednesday, the contract rose 21 cents to settle at $71.31.
Crude has jumped from $68 a barrel in two days as the dollar weakened to its lowest level this year. Because crude is priced in the U.S. currency, it becomes cheaper when the dollar falls. Some investors also use commodities like oil and gold as a hedge against inflation and dollar weakness.
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