Crude oil traded above $72 a barrel for the first time in three weeks on 17 September as inventories in the US fell to the lowest levels since January and the dollar weakened against other currencies.

The US’ November West Texas Intermediate (WTI) contract was trading at $72.10 on 17 September, up $0.15 from a week before. Analysts predict further increases in coming weeks as the US economy recovers.

Europe’s Brent contract for November was trading at $71.25 at the same time, up $1.30 from seven days earlier.

The average price for crude oil produced by the international oil cartel Opec was $68.69 on 16 September, down $0.50 from a week before.

Stocks of crude oil in the US, the world’s largest consumer, fell by 4.7 million barrels to 332.8 million barrels during the week ending 11 September, according to a report released by the US’ Energy Information Administration on 16 September.

The dollar fell to $1.477 per euro on 16 September, its lowest since 25 September 2008, supporting higher prices for oil, that is only traded in dollars.

According to analysts at Barclays Capital, the UK bank’s investment division, crude oil has traded in a $67-73 a barrel range in September, showing that trading has become less volatile. They believe further price increases are likely in the fourth quarter, forecasting an average price of $76 a barrel.