Oil rose above $71 a barrel on Tuesday, supported by a weaker dollar and after the oil minister of top exporter Saudi Arabia said he was seeing real evidence of world economic recovery in the form of demand for Saudi crude.

U.S. crude futures rose $1.68 to $71.39 a barrel by 1500 GMT, trimming the previous day's $2.33 drop.

London Brent crude gained $1.52 to $70.21.

Support came from a weak dollar and Saudi Arabia's comments, which indicated healthy demand from Asia, including China, Mike Wittner Societe Generale's global head of oil research, said.

Most of the exports from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf producers go to Asia. They are not guessing but they have knowledge to say this, he said.

Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi said demand for Saudi crude was increasing and OPEC would not cut output next year.

The world economy seems to be recovering. I hope it will recover fast and therefore it will impact demand, he told Reuters in an interview.

If demand rises of course supply has to match it... Demand for our oil is rising, and so we are -- at least I am -- convinced that economic growth is started and will continue.

China's apparent oil demand rose 2.9 percent in August from a year earlier, the fifth consecutive rise.

Still, Chinese domestic oil product demand has not kept up with the refinery operation rates, prompting oil companies to export fuels in large volumes.


The dollar fell against other currencies on Tuesday and hit a one-year low against the euro.

Its weakness makes dollar-denominated commodities cheaper for investors holding currencies other than the dollar.

For much of this year, oil has been negatively correlated to the dollar and has moved in tandem with stock markets, which have recovered strongly from multi-year lows touched in March.

Many analysts are wary any economic recovery will be much slower and more difficult than the equities markets are implying and that fuel demand will continue to be depressed.

World stocks, measured by MSCI's global index <.MIWD00000PUS>, rose by about 1 percent on Tuesday. The index has risen by 26 percent so far this year.

Oil prices have more than doubled from their December low of just above $32 a barrel and struck a 2009 high of $75 a barrel in August, but since the start of September they have been trapped in a narrow range between about $68 and $72.

Global investors will watch for clues on the health of the global economy from a two-day U.S. Federal Reserve meeting starting late on Tuesday and a summit of G20 nations later this week.

Oil traders will also look at two sets of weekly oil data from the United States, the world's top energy consumer, for guidance on fundamentals of supply and demand.

Analysts in a Reuters poll forecast the data would show increases in U.S. domestic oil product inventories, including gasoline, diesel and heating oil, because of slack demand.

The figures were also expected to show a drop in crude oil inventories following lower imports.

Industry group American Petroleum Institute will release its weekly oil data at 2030 GMT on Tuesday and the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a government unit, will publish its report on Wednesday.

(Additional reporting by Fayen Wong in Perth; editing by James Jukwey)