Crude futures were slightly higher Monday, ending a four-session losing streak as traders paused to gauge the latest events in Europe and the state of the global economy.
Light, sweet crude for July delivery recently traded 4 cents higher at $83.27 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange for June delivery traded 51 cents lower at $97.92 a barrel.
Oil prices paused with broader markets Monday after investors saw some hopes that Spain is working to support the country's weakened banks. Also, The Wall Street Journal reported that Germany is signalling it may be willing to support further euro-zone integration.
"Everyone is getting a little bump off the lows. What we are seeing here today is that the talks in Europe might mean something dramatic may happen to stop the bleeding," said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group.
"It's all about concerns on the global economy right now."
Over the past month oil prices tumbled along with stocks and other commodities. Crude is down more than 20% since the beginning of May, and dropped 3.8% Friday after bleak U.S. jobs numbers suggested that the U.S. economic recovery is also suffering amid Europe's debt crisis.
Oil investors fear that a deepening financial crisis in Europe will further weigh on the region's economy, pulling down demand for oil and fuel products.
But there are some questions on whether prices have fallen too far, too fast, prompting some traders to take profits off the table. While prices could fall further, it's likely that "short-covering" rallies will interrupt further drops, said Dominick Chirichella, an analysts at the Energy Management Institute, in a client note.
"The market is very oversold right now," he said.
After sharp declines in recent weeks, money managers including hedge funds trimmed their net-long position in Nymex crude-oil futures by a slim 0.1% in the week ended Tuesday, according to data released Friday by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Money managers held a net-long position of 136,584, down from 136,751 last week. In early May, the net-long position stood at 219,817.
Front-month May reformulated gasoline blendstock, or RBOB, recently traded 0.29 cent lower at $2.6539 a gallon. May heating oil recently traded 0.21 cent lower at $2.6258 a gallon.
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