RTTNews - Crude oil continued its upward surge on Monday, extending a seven-week high. Encouraging economic data improved the prospect of energy demand.

Light sweet crude for September delivery rallied to $71.58, up $2.13 on the session. Prices reached as high as $72.10 earlier in the day.

A weaker dollar boosted oil's value as a hedge investment. The greenback dropped to a its lowest levels of 2009 against both the euro and sterling as rising global stocks boosted risk appetite.

On the economic front, the Institute for Supply Management said its index of activity in the manufacturing sector rose to 48.9 in July from 44.8 in June, although a reading below 50 indicates a contraction. Economists had been expecting a reading of 46.5.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Commerce Department revealed that construction spending rose 0.3 percent in June. This followed a revised 0.8 percent slide in May.

Oil finished last week up $1.63 per barrel amid volatile movement. September oil fell $5.14 in the month of July, briefly touching below $60.

Energy Department data released last week showed U.S. commercial crude oil inventories increased by 5.1 million barrels during the week ended July 24.

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