Oil prices hovered near 31-month highs as a weak dollar and violence in North Africa and the Middle East outweighed concerns about slowing growth in top consumer the United States. On its last trading day of April, US crude was heading
for an eighth consecutive month of gains, the longest run of monthly increases since 1983, Reuters data showed.
US crude was up 41 cents at 1217 GMT at $113.27 (Dh415) a barrel, the highest since the close on September 22, 2008. Brent futures also rose 44 cents to $125.46, less than $2 short of its 2011 high of $127.02, reached on April 11.
Both US and Brent crude recouped losses posted earlier yesterday after Eurozone data showed the inflation rate rose further above the European Central Bank's target in April.
The data increased the chances of another interest rate rise in the Eurozone in June and helped push the dollar index against a basket of major currencies to a fresh three-year low."European markets are becalmed by three consecutive short trading weeks, and market activity has been fairly limited during this time. Geopolitical concerns in North Africa and the Middle East remain, with the conflict in Libya at an impasse and Syrian unrest increasing," said Lawrence Eagles from JP Morgan.
Libya's conflict spilled beyond its borders yesterday as forces loyal Muammar Gaddafi attacked the Tunisian town of Dehiba, near the Libyan border.
Morocco, which borders major oil and gas producer Algeria, said a bomb that killed at least 14 people on Thursday in its busiest tourist destination was a terrorist act.
And in Syria, tensions escalated with security forces firing tear gas to disperse protesters in Damascus while tens of thousands of Syrians rallied across the country demanding political freedom.
The weak dollar also helped push gold to a new record as investors sought alternative assets.
Oil hovered near multi-month peaks despite weak US data, which showed on Thursday that economic growth had braked sharply in the first quarter as higher food and gasoline prices dampened consumer spending and sent inflation rising at its fastest pace in 2-1/2 years. "At current price levels the main downside risk comes from demand destruction," said Olivier Jakob from Petromatrix consultancy.
Growth in the US gross domestic product slowed to an annual rate of 1.8 per cent from a fourth-quarter pace of 3.1 per cent, the Commerce Department said. Economists had expected a 2 per cent pace.