Oil prices edged up after early falls on Monday as parts of Asia returned from the Lunar New Year holiday, with Brent futures moving further away from $60 a barrel and U.S. contracts moving towards $51. After early trading losses, both international Brent and U.S. WTI crude futures edged up on Monday in reaction to cautious optimism that an immediate return of a eurozone crisis over Greek debt was averted by a compromise between Athens and its creditors.
Benchmark Brent crude futures were trading at $60.39. at 0201 GMT, up 17 cents from their last settlement, while U.S. WTI crude was up 5 cents at $50.86 a barrel. Despite the small rises on Monday, prices remain below last week’s highs.
Following a steep fall from June 2014 to six-year lows, oil prices recovered around a third of their value since mid-January, with benchmark Brent contracts jumping almost $20 a barrel to $63 a barrel last week as traders closed long-standing short positions in reaction to a falling U.S. rig count. Yet many analysts said the price rise was overblown as record U.S. inventories and slowing demand around the world left oil markets oversupplied.
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