Oil Prices Edge Higher on Chinese Data

By Features Dow Jones Newswires

Oil prices gained on Tuesday on better-than-expected economic data from China, the No. 2 oil-consuming nation.

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However, prices remain near multiyear lows on ongoing concerns about high global supplies and moderate demand.

After U.S. prices dipped briefly below $80 a barrel last week, prices have stabilized, said Stephen Schork, editor of energy newsletter The Schork Report.

"It looks like [traders are] trying to put a floor into the market," he said. "If they don't break the $80 mark over the next couple of days, then I'm going to look for a rebound."

Light, sweet crude for November delivery rose 10 cents, or 0.1%, to $82.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The November contract expired at settlement Tuesday. The more-actively traded December contract rose 58 cents, or 0.7%, to $82.49 a barrel.

Brent crude rose 82 cents, or 1%, to $86.22 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

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China posted 7.3% year-over-year quarterly growth rate in the third quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday. That's the lowest level of growth in five years, but it is slightly better than the 7.2% gain economists expected.

The country's industrial output rose by 8% in September, faster than the 6.9% increase posted in August. China also said its refineries processed a record amount of crude oil in September.

But some analysts attributed recent Chinese demand to low prices rather than higher consumption.

"If crude runs are high, that is because import prices of oil are very low and companies are replenishing their inventories," said Miao Tian, an analyst for investment bank North Square Blue Oak.

November reformulated gasoline blendstock, or RBOB, rose 1.32 cents, or 0.6%, to $2.2134 a gallon.

November diesel rose 2.76 cents, or 1.1%, to $2.5132 a gallon.

(Chuin-Wei Yap contributed to this article.)