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Oil rises as recent figures from China show a recovery in demand

The world’s largest oil importer, China, surprised analysts with better-than-expected industrial data on Wednesday. Nevertheless, impending demand concerns, such as a buildup in US crude oil stockpiles and mounting concerns about additional US interest rate hikes, held back oil prices.

At 10:09 a.m. local time (07:09 GMT), the price of international benchmark Brent crude was $84.08 per barrel, up 0.75 percent from the previous trading session’s closing price of $83.45 per barrel.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the American benchmark, traded at $77.67 per barrel at the same time, up $0.80 from the previous session’s closing price of $77.05 per barrel.

Chinese industry activity expanded significantly in February, according to figures released on Tuesday by the National Bureau of Statistics of China.

The official manufacturing PMI increased to 52.6, indicating continued growth in the second-largest, oil-consuming nation in the world.

The figure was the highest since April 2012, when it hit 53.5, which increased the favorable perception of the oil market and prompted purchases of crude oil.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported late Tuesday its assessment of a rise in US crude oil stockpiles of roughly 6.5 million barrels, compared to the market consensus of a 440,000-barrel gain, exerting pressure on recovering demand and oil prices.

Later on Wednesday, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) will release its statistics on oil stocks. If the increase in stock levels is verified, prices are anticipated to fall.

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