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US crude settles up 88 cents, at $47.45 a barrel

Source: Denver International Airport

U.S. crude settled higher on Monday as a declining dollar offset global oversupply concerns stemming from an announcement by Saudi Arabia that it was pumping around 10 million barrels per day, near a record high.

U.S. WTI crude closed up 88 cents, at $47.45 a barrel. Brent crude reversed earlier losses, rising 60 cents to $55.90 a barrel.

Oil prices have seesawed in recent days, weighed down by oversupply concerns but boosted by the weakening of the dollar ahead of the expected end of years of zero-interest rate policy in the United States later this year.

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Houston-based Schlumberger, the world's top oilfield services provider, said oil prices could increase in the second half of the year as it expected global industry spending on exploration and production to drop 10 percent to 15 percent in 2015.

"The dollar is under pressure, and we saw buyers coming into the market as a result," said Tradition Energy senior analyst Gene McGillian.

Saudi Arabia has stood firm on its decision to maintain production levels, saying it would consider cutting output only if producers outside OPEC also did so.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said the kingdom was now pumping about 10 million barrels per day, which could indicate an increase of 350,000 bpd over its February production.

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Barclays analysts forecast on Monday that if OPEC production holds near current levels of almost 30 million bpd, the market surplus would expand from 900,000 bpd to 1.3 million bpd.

China's February crude oil imports from Iran fell 3.7 percent from a year earlier to 2.04 million tonnes. China boosted overall imports late last year, taking advantage of cheap oil to build its reserves, but storage tanks could be reaching their limits, forcing a slowdown in orders.

CORRECTION: U.S. crude settled up 88 cents, at $47.45 a barrel. That closing result was misstated in an earlier version of this article.