Oil prices have traded near a seven-week high of $81 as US demand edged up with a recovering economy.

For April delivery, US crude fell 22¢ to $80.65 a barrel by 0523 GMT, while London ICE Brent dropped 15¢ to $79.10, reports Reuters.

US crude inventories last week rose by a larger-than-expected 4.1 million barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration.

According to Barclays Capital, a decline in global crude inventories and the surplus held in floating storage has set the stage for an increase toward the $80-90 range.

Asian demand has grown rapidly by more than two million barrels per day from a year earlier, a pace that will drive up the price to remain in the $70-80 range.