Crude oil prices in the US rose above $70 a barrel on 27 May as the European single currency the euro strengthened against the US dollar for the first time in a week.

The US’ benchmark July West Texas Intermediate (WTI) contract was valued at $73.20 a barrel, up $5.47 from seven days before after a week of trading under $70 a barrel. It traded below $66 a barrel on 25 April, a 10-month low (MEED 20:5:2010).

In Europe, the region’s benchmark July Brent contract was trading at $73 a barrel, up $2.69 a barrel from a week before.

The average price of the 12 Opec members crudes was $68.21 on 26 May, the last date prices were available for, down $2.36 a barrel from the previous week, although analysts agreed that the average was likely to improve in line with gains elsewhere.

Analysts attribute the gains to both reduced fears over the instability of sovereign debt in Eurozone countries like Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland, and a corresponding rise in the value of the Euro against the US dollar.

The European single currency fell to near-record lows of $1.215 against the dollar on 26 May, but had rebounded to $1.226 by the next day, with a statement by the China Investment Corporation that it did not intend to dispose of Euro-based assets, lending support to the troubled currency.