Brent Oil Edging $60 on Cautious Optimism over Greek Debt

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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