Oil rise before US inventory data

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Oil prices extended gains on Wednesday as investors awaited key energy inventory data from top consumer the United States.

Ahead of the data, the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC) held its forecast for oil demand to rise by 0.95 million barrels a day but was cautious about market trends in 2010, in a monthly report on Wednesday.

New York's main futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in July, jumped 84 cents to 72.83 dollars a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for July added 41 cents to 72.71 dollars in London midday trade.

The US Department of Energy will publish later on Wednesday its latest weekly data on crude oil inventories in the United States -- the world's biggest energy-consuming nation.

OPEC meanwhile expressed caution about its outlook, in the context of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and signs of a slowing of growth in China.

World demand for oil is set to rise by 0.95 million barrels per day to 85.4 mbd this year, OPEC said, standing by estimates in its last monthly report.

Recent data suggested that growth of demand was slightly higher than had been expected in the first half of the year, OPEC said.

But the expected slowing of the rate of economic recovery could affect growth of oil demand in the second half of the year, the report said.

The organisation said it had noted a change of opinion regarding recovery of the global economy in view of the emergence of debt crises in some countries in the eurozone, and the first signs of a slowing of growth in China.

These factors explained a recent fall in the price of oil after a period of relatively stable prices since October 2009, the report said.

© 2010 AFP

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