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Oil closes mixed on weak dollar

NEW YORK (AFP) – After relentless declines due to oversupply woes, oil futures were split on Friday, closing down in London but up in New York as the dollar weakened on exchange markets.

A barrel of West Texas Intermediate for September delivery gained 46 cents to close at $41.60 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The rise broke a streak of six straight declines.

In London, North Sea Brent, also for September, was down 24 cents at $42.46 on the Intercontinental Exchange.

As oil is denominated in the US currency, a weaker dollar can make crude more attractive to buyers. Shortly after 1900 GMT, the euro was up nearly one percent and the British pound about 0.5 percent against the dollar.

The dollar s slight decline followed Friday s release of disappointing economic growth figures from the US Commerce Department.

Weak demand and bloated inventories have steadily driven down prices in recent months.

“A weaker US dollar is once again wafting smelling salts under the nose of the crude market and this time it appears to be working,” Matt Smith of ClipperData wrote in a blog post.

Bob Yawger of Mizuho Securities cautioned against reading too much into Friday s price hike.

“We ve been down for so many days in a row,” he said. “It s just a little bump with a short covering rally before the weekend.”