Oil prices are likely to hover between $70 and $80 a barrel next year if the world economy strengthens, Algerian Energy and Mines Minister Chakib Khelil said.

Khelil cited by an Algerian official news agency APS said:”I think prices in 2010 will develop at the same level as now, between $70 and $80, if the world economy improves from where it is today.”

Prices now were being supported by forecasts for an economic recovery in 2010, but this remains uncertain at least for some European economies that are going through serious difficulties, APS cited Khelil as saying on the sidelines of an industry event in Algiers.

He said a drop in the level of world crude oil stocks to 58 days from 61 days suggested that global consumption had been pushed higher by demand from India, China and the Middle East.

U.S. crude oil rose on Monday to touch a five week high above $79 a barrel as expectations of colder weather in the United States and signs of economic recovery boosted the outlook for fuel demand.

(REUTERS & Arabian Oil and Gas)