Oil prices vaulted above $75 a barrel Tuesday as the dollar weakened, making oil cheaper for investors holding other currencies.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for March delivery was up $1.23 at $75.36 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. With markets closed Monday in the U.S. for the Presidents Day holiday, the contract last settled on Friday, falling $1.15 to $74.13.
Trading volume was light in Asia as markets in China,
There is often a correlation between oil prices and the dollar's exchange rate, with investors' risk appetite and other factors moving funds back and forth between commodities like oil and the U.S. currency.
The dollar has made strong gains on the euro during the past weeks as some members of the European Union have struggled with large budget deficits. The euro bounced back slightly on Tuesday, to $1.3649 from $1.3607 on Monday, as the EU appeared to take a tougher stance on Greece's deficit plights.
Oil has traded between $69 a barrel and $84 for the last few months as investors struggle to gauge global crude demand.