Oil prices remained steady below $79 a barrel today as the dollar gained on European sovereign risk and forecasts for rising US oil and petrol inventories capped prices.

For April delivery, US crude fell 9¢ to $78.61 a barrel by 0752 GMT, while London ICE Brent also dropped 9¢ to $76.80, reports Reuters.

The front-month contract for US crude reached $80.62 on Monday, its highest since 13 January 2010, tracking commodity gains led by copper and after Chilean state energy company ENAP said it was boosting diesel imports following Saturday’s earthquake.

According to a Reuters poll, US crude inventories rose 1.3 million barrels last week amid higher imports, while petrol stockpiles may have gained 400,000 barrels.