Page last updated at 22:14 GMT, Monday, 24 November 2008

Oil price bounces back above $50

Petrol station
Fuel demand has declined because of recession fears

Oil prices have risen rapidly towards $55 a barrel after hitting their lowest level in three-and-a-half-years at the end of last week.

Prompted by a rally on stock markets worldwide, US light, sweet crude rose $4.57 to $54.50 a barrel. Brent crude also climbed, adding $4.74 to $53.93.

Analysts said the commodities markets were responding well to measures taken by US and UK governments.

Recent price falls have led to speculation that Opec could cut output.

The cartel meets on 29 November and Venezuelan oil minister Rafael Ramirez has said that Opec should cut production by a million barrels a day.

Opec, which accounts for 40% of global oil production, already cut output by 1.5 million barrels a day last month, but the move failed to stop prices from declining.

Opec's second-largest exporter, Iran, has also expressed support for further cuts.

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