Oil prices surge to 2-week high

NEW YORK, March 27 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices rallied on Monday as worries over the banking sector eased.

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for May delivery gained 3.55 U.S. dollars, or 5.13 percent, to settle at 72.81 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for May delivery added 3.13 dollars, or 4.17 percent, to close at 78.12 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

Both the U.S. crude benchmark and Brent ended at their two-week high, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

"Oil prices are trying to recover from the banking fiasco that divorced petroleum prices away from supply and demand fundamentals," Phil Flynn, senior analyst at The PRICE Futures Group, said in a note on Monday.

News that North Carolina-based First Citizens BancShares has agreed to buy failed Silicon Valley Bank helped calm bank fears.

Earlier this month, oil prices tumbled to their 15-month lows as traders grew fearful that the U.S. banking crisis could weigh on the broader economy and derail energy demand.

For the trading week ending March 24, the WTI rose 3.5 percent, while Brent increased 2.8 percent, based on the front-month contracts.

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