NEW YORK -- Crude prices rallied above $52 a barrel yesterday, as traders bought contracts to cover commitments made when prices were falling.
Light, sweet crude for May delivery rose $1.92 to $52.29 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Monday, the contract dropped as low as $49.66 -- its lowest in two months -- before recovering to $50.37.
Heating oil rose 5.07 cents to $1.4930 a barrel; unleaded gas gained 7.57 cents to $1.5701 a gallon.
In London, Brent crude for June rose $2.16 to $52.94 per barrel.
The crude futures market dropped more than $8 over the past two weeks but failed to close below the $50 mark, despite economic worries, rising US crude inventories, and increased OPEC production. ''We're running out of reasons to keep that real bearish mantra we've had these past weeks," said Phil Flynn, analyst at Alaron Trading Corp.
Oil prices have fallen more than 10 percent since an intraday peak of $58.28 on April 4. Traders who reached deals to sell borrowed oil contracts are now being forced to buy oil at more expensive prices as deals come due.