Growth in China's economy helps push oil prices higher for a third day
An oil rig is shown in this file photo.
Published Friday, July 13, 2012 7:49AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 13, 2012 12:41PM EDT
NEW YORK -- Oil prices rose for a third straight day on Friday after China said its economy grew as expected in the second quarter.
It was the slowest pace since 2009. Still, the 7.6 per cent growth rate was enough to calm analysts, who feared worse results, given a recent decline in manufacturing activity. China is the world's second-largest oil consumer behind the U.S.
"We're breathing a sigh of relief here," independent analyst Jim Ritterbusch said. "The market was looking for some bad numbers."
As China's economy slows, analysts said the U.S. and other countries will likely pursue new measures to spark growth.
Benchmark U.S. crude rose 72 cents to US$86.80 per barrel in early afternoon trading in New York, while Brent crude increased $1.05 to $101.33 per barrel in London.
Simmering tensions over Iran's nuclear program also helped push up oil prices. Iranian media said the country's military has improved the accuracy and firing capabilities of its missiles, confirming a Pentagon report last month that Iran has made significant military advances. The reports followed new U.S. sanctions announced Thursday against companies and people connected to Iran's defence ministry.
Iran has been sparring with the West as the U.S. and other countries try to force Iran to reveal more about its nuclear program. Iran has resisted and threatened to block a crucial Persian Gulf oil route.
In other futures trading, heating oil rose two cents to $2.79 per gallon and wholesale gas added a penny to $2.82 per gallon. Natural gas fell by 1.4 cents to $2.86 per 1,000 cubic feet.