Benchmark crude for July delivery settled at US$72.6 on the Nymex, while Brent crude increased to US$71.79 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange. Oil prices touched 8 month highs as the dollar dipped, and reports suggested that consumers and business may be more willing and able to spend money on energy. The US federal government announced a drop in first-time jobless claims last week. Also, another report states that retail sales grew in May for the first time in three months, in part because of spiking gasoline prices. Most energy experts can find no solid basis for rising crude prices.