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Oil prices: 'April is a bullish month'

chart_ws_commodity_energy_oil.top.pngclick on chart for more on commodities By Laurie Segall, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Oil prices continued to trend up Friday, after ending the first quarter at a two-and-a-half-year high, and most experts think that will remain the case for the foreseeable future.

"Oil is going stay stay firm," said Paul Colby, senior vice president at Planalytics. "It'll probably go even higher."

Crude prices have been volatile over the past three months, as unrest in the Arab world continues to spark worries about potential production disruptions.

Oil prices topped $100 a barrel in February amidst protests in Egypt and Tunisia. The civil war in Libya, Africa's third largest oil producer, also pushed prices higher.

The earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which hosts the world's third largest economy, continued to underpin already nervous sentiment.

On Friday, crude oil settled up $1.22 at $107.94 a barrel.

"Today the fundamentals are still very bullish, and we should continue to go higher." said PFG Best senior market analyst Phil Flynn. "The Middle East situation is not calming down any time," he added.

Flynn attributes the bullish April outlook to higher demand for better quality crude during the switchover period from the end of winter heating season to the summer driving season.

"I hate to give you a bad April fools joke, but the month of April is a very bullish month for oil prices," Flynn said.

The weaker U.S. dollar is also playing a role in the price rise since most commodities, including oil, are priced in dollars.

And the Fed is expected to keep interest rates low -- a move that would keep the dollar weak.

"Low interest rate policy is very good for demand in commodities. Crude oil would feed into inflation and high prices," Platts senior oil analyst Linda Rafield said. To top of page

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