Commodity Online

NEW YORK: World oil prices continued their upward journey from last week and are nearing $107 in Asian trade on Monday as US dollar became weaker.

In morning trade, New York's main oil contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, rose $US0.34 to $US106.57 per barrel.

The benchmark contract jumped US$2.40 to close at US$106.23 a barrel during floor trading on Friday at the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent North Sea crude for May climbed $US0.04 to US$104.94 a barrel, after settling at US$104.90 dollars on Friday in London. The contract had rallied US$2.38 dollars at the close.

US dollar sank further against the euro on Friday after news that US employers cut a surprisingly large 80,000 jobs in March, the biggest decline in employment in five years.

The weak US currency tends to encourage demand for dollar priced crude because it becomes cheaper for foreign buyers.

On Monday morning, the euro traded at US$1.5699, down from US$1.5736 in New York late on Friday. Friday's jobs report prompted many commodity fund investors to bet on fresh falls for the dollar.

Many traders are concerned that slowing US growth could prompt lower energy demand because the United States is the world's biggest consumer of energy. Some economists say the United States has already entered a recession.

Meanwhile Secretary General of OPEC, Abdullah al Badri, rejected calls from oil consuming states for a hike in the cartel's crude output, saying non fundamental factors were to blame for current high prices.

OPEC, which produces 40 per cent of the world's oil, at its last meeting in March maintained its daily output at 29.67 million barrels.