Oil rebounded by more than $4 on Monday, helped by a weaker dollar as the euro strengthened and bargain hunting by traders and investors after Brent crude lost almost $17 last week.
At 1135 GMT Brent crude for June was up by $3.62 to $112.75 a barrel after hitting an intraday high of $113.19. U.S. crude rose by $3.28 to $100.46, after climbing as high as $100.69 a barrel.
Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank, said the bounce was a combination of the weaker dollar and bargain hunting: Some market participants consider the lower price levels after the sharp drop on Thursday a good buying opportunity.
The Reuters-Jefferies CRB index <.CRB>, a global benchmark for commodities prices, last week staged its biggest weekly drop since late 2008, down 9 percent.
We went through a pretty hefty sell-off for all markets, said Tony Machacek, an oil trader at Bache Commodities. It smacked of funds getting sell-stops triggered. Now that long liquidation has been done, everything seems to be stabilizing.
Traders and analysts also attributed the rebound to the dollar selling off again while the euro strengthened, reversing last week's trend. You can't split these things out at the moment, said David Morrison, a strategist at GFT.
The euro had sold off due to an apparent delay in European Central Bank tightening when President Jean-Claude Trichet failed to use the code words strong vigilance.
On Monday the position reversed, with the dollar down 0.28 percent against a basket of currencies <.DXY> at 1137 GMT, while the euro bounced back as some investors viewed its sell-off as overdone. A weaker dollar helps commodities which are priced in dollars.
The dollar index is looking absolutely dreadful at the moment and despite that bounce it's still in a downtrend and it looks like we could go a lot lower, said Morrison.
But analysts and traders were cautious about the rebound in the oil price. Fritsch said he saw some consolidation in the coming days before the price starts to rise again.
And in the interim we may test the lows from Friday. Technical levels have been broken and it will take some time for the markets to recover.
According to technical charts, Brent futures were expected to revisit Friday's low of $105.15 per barrel, while U.S. crude could head back down to $94.63, said Reuters market analyst Wang Tao.
We had a lot of the long-side speculation knocked out on all these markets. This week it will be interesting to see if we get another leg down, added Morrison.
We might put in a double-bottom and that could set the stage for further gains. Can this bounce turn into a more sustainable rally or will we set ourselves up for another bout of selling?
This week the market will be looking to see if high price levels have had an impact on oil demand, with Chinese import data for April due on Tuesday and the monthly outlooks from OPEC and the IEA on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.
Possibly we will see a slight downward revision to oil demand growth forecasts for this year and that could also cap price rallies this week, said Fritsch.
The market is also eyeing key Chinese inflation data expected this week.
A higher-than-expected reading might revive expectations of more policy tightening from Beijing, dealing a further blow to commodities.
(Additional reporting by Francis Kan in Singapore)