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Oil Edges Above $101 as Dollar Weakens

Oil prices rose slightly on Tuesday, ending a sell-off from last week's record high as weakness in the U.S. dollar and fresh output disruptions in Africa spurred some buying.

U.S. crude rose 36 cents to $101.22 a barrel, the first gain in four trading days. London Brent crude rose 74 cents to $100.60 a barrel.

U.S. oil prices remain sharply below the record high of $111.80 touched on March 17 but traders have been reluctant to let the price fall back below $100 a barrel.

"Crude got a boost on the perception that money was coming back into commodities," said Phil Flynn, analyst at Alaron Trading in Chicago.

The dollar retreated broadly on Tuesday, posting its steepest loss against the euro in two weeks, supporting oil, gold and other commodity markets denominated in the currency.

Energy players added that news a worker strike in Gabon had halted 60,000 barrels of daily output from a Shell subsidiary in the West African nation encouraged oil's gains.

Tuesday's boost in oil prices comes after a stretch of losses since last Monday's record caused by worries the U.S. economic slowdown would hit energy demand growth.

U.S. government data released last week showed oil demand in the world's biggest energy consumer down 3.2 percent from a year ago, with inventories rising.

Oil analysts polled by Reuters expect this week's government data to show a third consecutive increase in weekly U.S. crude oil stocks, up 1.7 million barrels.

In Iraq security forces launched a major operation in the southern oil city of Basra to bring it under government control. Iraqi oil sources said Basra's oilfields, which exported 1.54 million barrels per day in February, were operating normally.

Legendary oil investor Boone Pickens told CNBC on Tuesday he expects oil to remain near or above $100 a barrel for the rest of this year.

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