Crude oil prices rose during the week ending 18 February as optimism over the global economy was boosted by growth in industrial activity in the US, the world’s biggest energy consumer.

The US’ benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) contract for April was trading at $76.80 a barrel on 18 February, up from $75 a barrel a week before (MEED 11:2:10).

The contract traded above $77 a barrel on 17 February after the US Federal Reserve released a report showing US industrial output grew by 0.9 per cent between January 2009 and January 2010.

In Europe, the April Brent contact was also up, trading at $75.65 a barrel. The contract traded at $72.90 a barrel a week before, $2.75 lower.

The average price for oil produced by the 12 member states of the international oil cartel Opec was $74.33 on 17 February, up from $70.78 a week before.