The average OPEC oil prices last week increased US $1.94 to US $67.66 per barrel, the Vienna-based cartel said on.

The prices nearly reached the same level of the first week of July, which was US $68.23 per barrel.

OPEC’s daily prices showed a clear trend in V-shape last week. First they reached $69.01 per barrel last Monday, the second peak last month after topping $69.26 on July 1. Then the prices dropped continuously to $65.81 on Wednesday before rising significantly again. The prices rebounded to $68.59 last Friday.

The weakening U.S. dollar and strengthening U.S. stock market are still major factors that boosted the oil prices last week.

In addition, the latest statistics of the U.S gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter showed the GDP shrinkage was lower than previously expected.

U.S. President Barack Obama also said he was “cautiously optimistic” about the U.S. economic development, as statistics indicated that the U.S. economy was developing in the right direction.

All these are considered by investors as signals that the economic recession is slowing down.

Some analysts believed that the movement of the dollar would determine the oil prices to a large extent in the following months.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke clearly stated that the development of the U.S. dollar would not be concerned in medium and long term.

However, economists believed that fund withdrawal due to rise in the stock market and the weakened hedging effect of the U.S. dollar, as well as the over trillion U.S. budget deficit would exert great impact on the dollar exchange rate. The exchange rate of the dollar will remain weakened in short term, pushing up the U.S. dollar quoted prices including the crude oil.

Analysts also said that as the current U.S. dollar index has dropped to a low level around 78, a recent rebound is also possible, which may in turn prevent the oil prices from rising in short term. However, the rebound, if any, will also be to a limited extent. Therefore, in the near future, the crude oil prices may still fluctuate upward.

(Xinhua News Agency & Rigzone)