Oil prices climb as OPEC says demand to rise

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Oil prices rose on Thursday as OPEC said world demand growth was set to rise slightly next year but gains were capped by news of slower economic growth in China, traders said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in August, climbed 35 cents to 77.39 dollars a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for August gained 35 cents to 77.39 dollars in midday London trade.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which pumps 40 percent of the world's crude, forecast Thursday a 1.2-percent increase in global oil demand growth in 2011.

In its latest monthly report, OPEC held its forecast for world oil demand growth for 2010 steady at 1.1 percent, or an extra 0.95 million barrels per day (bpd).

For 2011, growth would pick-up only fractionally to 1.2 percent or an additional 1.0 million bpd, "reflecting continued caution about the pace of the global economic recovery", OPEC said.

Earlier on Thursday, oil-hungry China said its economic growth slowed in the second quarter, as massive stimulus spending was scaled back and moves to rein in soaring property prices started to bite.

Gross domestic product in the world's third-biggest economy maintained double-digit growth for the third quarter in a row, expanding 10.3 percent in the three months to June, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

The second quarter figure marked a slowdown from the blistering 11.9 percent growth in January-March and 10.7 percent in the last three months of 2009, after Beijing introduced a range of measures to cool the red-hot economy.


© 2010 AFP

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