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Oil Prices Nudge Up On Chinese Economic Data



Oil prices rose slightly on Monday as Chinese industrial output and retail data topped expectations but gains were capped by overall figures showing the country’s slowest quarterly economic growth in decades.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 rose 40 cents, or 0.6per cent, to $67.12 a barrel by 0923 GMT, while U.S. crude CLc1 was up 19 cents, or 0.32 per cent, at $60.40 a barrel.

Both contracts last week posted their biggest weekly gains in three weeks on cuts in U.S. oil production and diplomatic tensions in the Middle East.

Asian and early European trading was boosted by the more positive Chinese economic data, which may indicate early success in government stimulus efforts and potentially more oil demand in the world’s number two economy.

Analysts at ANZ bank said China’s crude oil imports year to date still looked impressive, even as imports fell in June for a second straight month.

“We believe additional crude oil quota (given) to private refiners should keep imports upbeat in H2 2019,’’ they said.

China’s crude oil throughput rose to a record of 13.07 million barrels per day in June, up 7.7 per cent from a year earlier, following the start up of two new, large refineries, official data showed on Monday.

Still economic growth of just 6.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2019.

The worst in 27 years signalled the impact of trade tensions with Washington and raised the possibility that more incentives might be needed to jumpstart the economy.

Despite a truce agreed between the Chinese and U.S. presidents last month, the trade war remains unresolved.

The Paris based International Energy Agency said in its monthly report on Friday that abundant output and sluggish growth would leave oil markets increasingly over supplied going into 2020.

“As far as 2019 is concerned, the more cautious demand stance is now well established in the market and across most forecasters,’’ consultancy JBC energy said in a note.

Refineries in the path of Tropical Storm Barry continued to operate, although the storm has slashed U.S. Gulf of Mexico crude output by 73 per cent, or 1.38 million barrels per day.

In the Middle East, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech on Sunday that Iran is ready to hold talks with the United States.

He added that if Washington lifts sanctions and returns to the 2015 nuclear deal it quit in 2019.

Meanwhile Britain has offered to facilitate the release of the detained Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 if Tehran gave guarantees that it would not go to Syria.



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