Oil prices have climbed to more than $79 a barrel, reaching the highest levels for five weeks. During Monday’s trading in London, US crude touched $79.12 a barrel before falling back later to $78.77.

Heating oil futures led the gains, while London Brent crude rose by more than a dollar to $77.32 a barrel.

Prices rose following forecasts of colder weather in the United States, and the expectation of increased consumption and falling reserves.

That would indicate that demand was rising and signal an improvement in the US economy.

The north-west of the US is also the world’s largest heating oil market.