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Oil rises as bulls shrug off reopening of Libya’s El-Sharara oilfield

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

NEW YORK -Oil prices headed higher on Tuesday as faith in OPEC-led efforts to curtail supply outweighed the restart of production at Libya’s largest oilfield, El-Sharara, and concerns over China’s economy.

New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 21 cents, or 0.37%, at $56.80 a barrel by 8:58 AM ET (13:58 GMT).

Meanwhile, Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., traded up 55 cents, or 0.85%, to $67.39, backing off of $65.62 which was also its best level in three months.

Buying interest kept oil prices higher despite reports that Libya’s El Sharara oilfield, the country’s largest, has restarted and looks set to reach an initial output of 80,000 barrels per day.

Dampening optimism on global demand, China, the world’s largest importer of oil, cut its economic growth target to 6% from the prior 6.5%.

“The environment facing China’s development this year is more complicated and more severe,” Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said at the opening of the annual meeting of China’s parliament.

However, Beijing also offered more stimulus, including cuts in taxes and social security fees, increases in infrastructure investment and lending to small firms in order to buffer the economy.

The market’s attention is now shifting to fresh weekly data on U.S. commercial crude inventories.

The American Petroleum Institute is due to release its weekly report for the week ended March 1 at 4:30PM ET (21:30 GMT), while official government datawill be released on Wednesday. Analysts forecast a small gain of 388,000 barrels.

In other energy trading, gasoline futures gained 0.77% to $1.7625 a gallon by 8:58 AM ET (13:58 GMT), while heating oil dropped 0.32% to $2.0078 a gallon.

Lastly, natural gas futures advanced 0.28% to $2.865 per million British thermal unit.


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