Optimisim over economy raises oil prices
21 May 2009

Oil prices hit a six-month high yesterday, but receded on the back of weak economic figures issued in America.

US crude oil prices rose to a peak of $60.48 (£38.79) a barrel amid renewed hopes of a recovery in the US economy, but then dipped to $59.65 (£38.25) when weak housing data was revealed.

Oil prices have risen about 20 per cent from $50 a barrel over the last three weeks as optimism about the state of the world economy has grown.

Oil has jumped from $32 (£20) a barrel in January, but it remains well below the record high of $147 (£94.29) last July.

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