Oil prices rise as traders assess supply risks

NEW YORK, March 31 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices climbed on Friday as traders stayed focused on supply problems.

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for May delivery rose 1.3 U.S. dollars, or 1.75 percent, to settle at 75.67 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for May delivery increased 50 cents, or 0.63 percent, to close at 79.77 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

The above market moves came as the nervousness sparked by the turbulences in the banking sector has generally abated, and oil participants paid attention to supply outages.

"Traders remained focused on the situation in Kurdistan," as "the region's exports have been recently halted, and producers have been forced to shut output at some oilfields," Vladimir Zernov, analyst with market information supplier FX Empire, said on Friday.

For the week, the U.S. crude benchmark jumped 9.25 percent, while Brent advanced 6.37 percent, based on the front-month contracts.

Despite recent gains, the WTI and Brent recorded monthly declines of 1.8 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

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