Page last updated at 21:27 GMT, Monday, 24 August 2009 22:27 UK

Oil prices rise to 10-month highs

Oil well in Bahrain

Oil prices have risen to 10-month highs on fresh signs that the global economic recovery is gathering pace.

US light crude ended Monday up 48 cents to $74.37 a barrel, after earlier touching $74.81, its highest intra-day price since 21 October.

The rise came after official figures showed that new industrial orders in the 16 nations that share the euro rose more than expected in June.

London's Brent crude advanced seven cents to finish at $74.26.

'Positive news'

China reporting that its oil demand increased 3.5% in July, compared with the same month last year, also lifted prices.

We could now easily move towards the $80 mark if the growing enthusiasm about the budding economic recovery continues to dominate sentiment
Edward Meir of MF Global

And a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago said US economic activity improved again in July.

"The Chinese news was good and we had some positive news out of Europe as well," said Rob Montefusco, a trader at Sucden Financial in London.

Global oil prices have now increased more than 65% so far this year.

US light crude hit a record high of $147 a barrel in July last year, before falling back to just above $30 a barrel at the start of this year, as the global recession worsened.

"We could now easily move towards the $80 mark if the growing enthusiasm about the budding economic recovery continues to dominate sentiment," said fellow oil analyst Edward Meir of MF Global.



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