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Africa and Global Economic Trends Quarterly Review - First Quarter 2012
In response to weaker global demand, commodity prices generally declined during the second half of 2011. Positive signs in the US economy and improved risk perception, due to the second Greek financial bailout and ECB liquidity infusion to banks in the eurozone, pushed oil prices higher in February and March. Brent crude prices rose $5.3 per barrel during March amid global concerns over supply from Iran (postsanctions). The Brent-WTI (West Texas Intermediate) spread widened in February due to increased shale oil supplies in the US and absence of export infrastructure. The forecast is for oil prices to remain at this high level for the remainder of 2012.