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Oil prices jump on bargain hunting after slump

KUALA LUMPUR--Oil prices recovered Monday on bargain hunting after a week-long plunge.

Benchmark U.S. oil for February delivery rose 11 cents to US$94.07 in electronic trading at mid-afternoon Kuala Lumpur time on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell US$1.48 to settle at US$93.96 a barrel on Friday. Prices have fallen 6.4 percent over the past week.

Brent crude, used to price international crude processed by many U.S. refineries, rose 17 cents to US$107.06 in London.

Analysts said there are downside risks to oil prices. The U.S. economic recovery was generally boosted by a massive bond-buying program, and oil demand wasn't rising as fast as expected while supplies were sufficient.

On Thursday, protests reportedly ended at one of Libya's largest oil fields, which could allow the field to restart production and deliver more than 300,000 barrels of daily production to the global market.

Also, a rising dollar could dent oil prices. The Fed recently began winding its stimulus program, which is boosting the value of the dollar and leading investors away from oil. A stronger dollar makes commodities such as oil that are priced in dollars more expensive for buyers using other currencies.

In other energy futures trading:

— Wholesale gasoline rose 0.4 cent to US$2.653 a gallon.

— Natural gas added 7.2 cents to US$4.354 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil was up 0.9 cent to US$2.948 a gallon.

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