Oil prices steady at $61.50 as Japan emerges from recession

shutterstock_128653370Oil prices were steady on Monday, with traders saying the recent upward momentum was continuing as Japan emerged from recession and after US oil drilling fell.

Japan’s economy rebounded from recession in the final quarter, and although the data was weaker than expected, the return to growth of Asia’s second biggest economy and energy user lent oil support, analysts said.

Benchmark Brent crude futures were trading at $61.50 per barrel at 0205 GMT, virtually level with their last settlement. US WTI crude was also flat at $52.78 a barrel.

Oil markets rose strongly last Friday after another drop in the US rig count, pushing Brent back above $60 a barrel for the first time since December last year.

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