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Oil prices slip as China slowdown weighs
by Staff Writers
New York (AFP) Oct 18, 2012

Oil prices eased Thursday as investors digested economic data on slowing growth in China, the world's biggest energy consumer.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for November, ended nearly unchanged from Wednesday's close, slipping two cents to $92.10 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in December fell 80 cents to $112.42 a barrel in London trade.

China reported Thursday its economic growth slipped two-tenths of a point to 7.4 percent in the third quarter, in line with average analyst estimates.

It was seventh consecutive quarter of declining growth but analysts forecast the slowdown had almost bottomed out.

"Concerns remain that the ongoing problems in the euro area would prevent the world's second economy from returning to pre-crisis levels any time soon," said Fawad Razaqzada at GFT.

The analyst also said a looming once-in-a-decade leadership change in China was adding to the uncertainty.

European Union leaders opened a two-day summit marred by French and German differences over how to tackle the bloc's financial crisis.

Expectations that Spain will finally seek EU financial aid hung over the markets, encouraging caution, said Phil Flynn at Price Futures Group.

"While they are trying to downplay expectations of any major announcements at this meeting, based on this morning's strong Spanish bond auction, the market is saying they expect not to be disappointed," Flynn said.

In other oil market news, South Sudan ordered oil companies in the country to resume production Thursday to end a nine-month shutdown sparked by a dispute with rival Sudan that had escalated into border conflict.

In January, South Sudan cut off oil production, which provides about 98 percent of the country's total revenue, crippling the economies of both countries, after accusing Sudan of stealing its crude.



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