Current Oil Prices Gain over $1

The current oil price gained over a dollar to more than $94 per barrel after last week’s sharp declines and following strong increases in European stock markets.

On the NYMEX, the U.S. benchmark crude for delivery in April was $1.11 higher to $94.24 per barrel. The contract increased 29 cents to end at a crude price per barrel of $93.13 during the last trading day of the past week.

Last week saw sharp decreases in crude oil prices on the possibility that the U.S. Fed Reserve may stop offering financial help, which was suggested by the minutes that it recently released. That would result in a stronger dollar, pushing crude prices higher for foreign investors and restricting money supply that several say had been igniting speculative trades in commodities markets.

Crude prices stabilized in the past week, aided by the prediction of the European Commission that the recession affecting the economy of 17 nations using the euro may bottom out in the first half of 2013.

Meanwhile, investors are closely watching out for a new set of upcoming talks in Kazakhstan between the U.N. Security Council’s five permanent members and Iran, together with Germany, over the nuclear program of the Islamic Republic.

Iran, one of the biggest producers of oil in the world, had to significantly reduce its output because sanctions led by the United States are substantially limiting its exports of crude.

A broad increase in the stock markets suggesting a more optimistic view of the growth of the global economy also supported prices. Japan drove the increases as Bank of Japan’s next leader is expected by investors to support looser financial policy to jump-start growth.

That helped compensate a poll that showed a decline in the manufacturing of China to its lowest in four months last February. While the poll temporarily pushed the price of oil to its lowest for the session of $92.96, several analysts said that the outcome may not be as bad as it appears due to the weeklong holiday of the Lunar New Year.

On London’s ICE Futures Exchange, the price of Brent was $1.55 higher to $115.65 per barrel. ┬áIn other NYMEX trading, wholesale gasoline was higher by 5.18 cents to $3.3176 per gallon. Natural gas gained 10.9 cents to a price of $3.40 per thousand cubic feet. Heating oil increased 3.99 cents to a price of $3.1417 per gallon.