US oil settles up 75 cents, or 1.4%, at $53.53

Oil futures rallied sharply on Tuesday afternoon, with Brent crude hitting a 2015 high of $63 a barrel as short-covering returned to the market, which was depressed earlier by worries about euro zone stability. Brent crude‘s front-month contract for April delivery was up $1.10 at $62.50 a barrel, rebounding from a session low of $60.27. The session peak was $63, the highest for this year. U.S. crude futures for March closed up 75 cents, or 1.4 percent, at $53.53 a barrel, versus the intraday low of $50.81. Options expiry in March futures was slated for Tuesday, ahead of Friday’s contract expiry. Brent crude bounced back into positive territory on Tuesday, after being dragged lower by weakness in some other commodity markets. Threats to Middle East crude supplies and expectations lower prices may prompt a slowdown in U.S. output limited the fall. Silver fell by up to 5 percent and gold snapped a three-day rally. Investors in those commodities remained cautious after a breakdown of debt talks between Greece and euro zone finance ministers. “I think it all started in silver with squeezing out of long positions, then spilled over to gold and then to oil,” said Carsten Fritsch, commodities analyst … continue reading

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