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Oil prices up in Asian trade but remain below 50 dollars

Oil prices rose in Asian trade but remained below 50 dollars a barrel as developments in the troubled US auto industry kept global markets on edge.

world Updated: Mar 31, 2009 13:06 IST

Oil prices rose in Asian trade on Tuesday but remained below 50 dollars a barrel as developments in the troubled US auto industry kept global markets on edge, analysts said.

New York's main futures contract, light sweet crude for May delivery, rose 62 cents to 49.03 dollars a barrel. It shed 3.97 dollars in US trade on Monday to fall below 50 dollars for the first time since March 18 in the afternoon.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in May climbed 71 cents to 48.70 dollars after tumbling 3.99 dollars in London overnight.

"It's part of the noise of trading volatility," said Victor Shum, senior principal at energy consultancy Purvin and Gertz in Singapore.

"The news this week is really focused on the troubles with the US automakers."

Global financial markets went into a tailspin after the US government said on Monday it may pull the plug on aid to American auto giants General Motors and Chrysler if they fail to come up with better restructuring plans.

Shum said oil prices were unlikely to rise above 50 dollars again this week as the global economic outlook remains bleak.

Phil Flynn of Alaron Trading said "oil needs to retry the lower levels of support before we get a solid bottom."

Prices have collapsed since striking record peaks above 147 dollars per barrel in July as the global economic downturn has ravaged the world's appetite for energy.

Oil prices at about 50 dollars a barrel will not support huge investments needed in the sector to meet demand, the secretary general of the International Energy Forum said on Monday.