Oil futures traded higher Tuesday, with Brent crude resuming a push to the upside as a bounce by the U.S. dollar appeared to lose steam.
West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery rose 81 cents, or 1.6%, to $53.06 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. March Brent crude, the global benchmark, was up 84 cents, or 1.5%, at $56.50 a barrel.
WTI eked out a one-cent gain on Monday for its highest close since February, while Brent lost ground. Analysts said crude was taking a cue in part from equities, which were firmer after a modest Monday pullback.
“Crude prices are following the broader move into risky assets today,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, in a note.
“It seems energy traders are just looking for a reason to buy as the macro outlook seems to be very positive once we get past these next few months. Earlier oil was boosted on a weaker dollar, but those declines have been kept in check,” he said.
The ICE U.S. Dollar Index which tracks the currency against a basket of six major rivals, was flat after bouncing late last week and Monday from a 2 1/2-year low. A weaker dollar is seen as a positive for commodities priced in the currency, making them cheaper to overseas buyers.
Some of Monday’s weakness in oil prices was attributed to worries the continued rise in COVID-19 cases and increased lockdowns would undercut demand.
February natural-gas futures were up 4.1% at $2.861 per million British thermal units.
February gasoline futures rose 1.6% at $1.5445 a gallon, while February heating oil gained 1.6% to trade at $1.5985 a gallon.