Oil prices crawled back above $46 a barrel Monday after falling more than $1 as White House officials warned the US recession would likely worsen in coming months, undermining demand for crude. Light, sweet crude for March delivery rose 25 cents to $46.72 a barrel by midday in Europe in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose Friday $2.80 to settle at $46.47. Earlier Monday, it fell to $45.25 before recovering. In London, the March Brent contract was up 32 cents to $48.69 on the ICE Futures exchange. Monday's recovery continued last week's trend, which saw the Nymex contract gain over 9 percent even as demand concerns magnified, confounding market experts.