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Oil rises as China shows signs of economic upswing

Benchmark crude for January delivery was up 36 cents to $86.29 at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

By PAMELA SAMPSON
The Associated Press

12/10/2012

BANGKOK — The price of oil rose Monday after Chinese data showed higher growth in electricity consumption and industrial production.

Benchmark crude for January delivery was up 36 cents to $86.29 at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 33 cents to finish at $85.93 per barrel on Friday.

Signs that China's economy is recovering from a slowdown suggest there will be an increase in demand for energy to fuel its manufacturing industries.

The Chinese government reported Sunday that factory output increased 10.1 percent from a year earlier, compared to the previous month's rise of 9.6 percent year-on-year. Retail sales rose 14.9 percent, up from October's 14.5 percent.

Electricity consumption rose 7.9 percent in November from 6.4 percent in October, according to Natalie Rampono, a commodities analyst with ANZ Banking Group in Melbourne.

Analysts were still assessing Chinese trade data released earlier Monday that showed export growth declining and imports at a standstill.

"Markets were expecting improvement in imports in crude," Rampono said. "That was the expectation. That imports had increased in November."

Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, rose 43 cents to $107.45 per barrel, on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Heating oil rose 0.1 cent to $2.926 per gallon.

— Wholesale gasoline rose 1.6 cents to $2.613 per gallon.

— Natural gas fell 5.9 cents to $3.492 per 1,000 cubic feet.