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Oil prices get boost as dollar softens

BANGKOK--A weaker dollar boosted oil prices Tuesday even as a resumption of refinery operations in the Gulf of Mexico in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac eased concerns over supply disruptions.

Benchmark crude for October delivery was up 89 cents to US$97.36 per barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose US$1.85 to finish at US$96.47 Friday. There was no closing price Monday because of a public holiday in the U.S.

Brent crude was up US$1.58 at US$116.15 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading, heating oil rose 3.4 cents to US$3.21 a gallon aat US$2.999 a gallon. Natural gas rose 0.9 cents to US$2.79 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Hopes that the European Central Bank will play a more crucial role in resolving the continent's debt crisis have helped support the euro against the dollar. After dropping to near two-year lows below US$1.20, the euro has pushed back above US$1.26. That pushes up the price of oil, which is traded in dollars and becomes cheaper for holders of other currencies when the dollar drops.

Oil analyst Stephen Schork said in a report that oil prices could see “increased volatility this week” due to the loss of a trading day Monday because of a holiday in the U.S.

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