Page last updated at 18:55 GMT, Friday, 5 June 2009 19:55 UK

Oil prices head back towards $70

Oil rig in Bahrain
Oil prices have more than doubled so far this year

Oil prices broke through the $70 a barrel level, a new seven-month high, amid fresh economic hopes and rising stock market prices.

A weak dollar has also made more oil attractive to investors.

US light sweet crude hit $70.32 per barrel $69.21 before sliding to $68.75. London Brent was at $68.60 a barrel.

Oil prices have risen sharply from lows of near $30 a barrel, but are still less than half of the peak of $147 reached in July last year.

Investors are eying the US non-farm payrolls data, due later on Friday, amid hopes that this will provide further evidence that the recession is easing.

This could further spur oil price gains.

An economic rebound and production cuts by Opec, the oil producers' cartel, could push prices to $85 a barrel by the end of the year and $95 a barrel by the end of 2010, Goldman Sachs, the US investment bank, said on Thursday.

This view has been reiterated by Opec officials, who have said that prices could reach $80 to $90 by early next year.

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