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LONDON, Jan 25 AFP

January 26 2013, 02:12AM

Global oil prices have advanced, buoyed by a weakening US dollar, upbeat German economic data and gains on European stock markets, dealers said.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in March rose 41 cents to $US113.69 a barrel in London midday deals.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for March, won 47 cents to $96.42 a barrel.

In foreign exchange trade on Friday, the European single currency surged to $1.3465 - which marked the highest level since February 29, 2012.

The shared eurozone unit soared following news that German business confidence had struck the highest level in seven months.

The Ifo institute's closely watched business climate index for Europe's top economy rose to 104.2 points in January - its highest reading since June - from 102.4 points a month earlier.

The euro also spiked after the European Central Bank revealed that 278 eurozone banks will repay early 137.16 billion euros ($A176.53 billion) of ultra-cheap three-year loans made available to them last year in emergency liquidity measures.

"Crude oil prices extended gains on Friday ... mainly supported by the weaker US dollar that offered strong upside momentum to the market," said analyst Myrto Sokou at the Sucden brokerage in London.

"In the meantime, European equity markets continue to post fairly strong gains."

A weak greenback tends to stimulate demand for dollar-priced crude, which becomes cheaper for buyers using stronger currencies like the euro. That tends to stimulate demand and spark higher price levels.

European stock markets also advanced on Friday, with Frankfurt hitting a five-year high as the German data helped offset news that the British economy had contracted by 0.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year.

Crude futures had jumped on Thursday on the back of growing optimism after strong economic indicators in the US, China and Europe.