AP News

Oil slips as China inflation picks up


NEW YORK (AP) — Oil prices fell Friday on concerns that China's government could limit economic stimulus measures because of higher inflation.

Benchmark oil dropped 57 cents to $93.25 a barrel in afternoon trading in New York. A day earlier, a report showing a rebound in China's trade growth boosted oil because it suggested a possible recovery in global demand.

Friday's data showed China's inflation spiked to a six-month high in December. Higher inflation could hamper Beijing's ability to support the country's economic recovery.

Reports that Saudi Arabia produced 9 million barrels of crude oil in December, 500,000 barrels less than the previous month, kept prices from falling further. Official figures will be released next Wednesday in OPEC's monthly oil market report.

In the U.S., average pump prices remain around $3.31 a gallon, up about 2 cents in the past week.

Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, was down $1.49 to $110.40 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 5 cents to $2.74 a gallon.

— Heating oil was down 4 cents to $3.01 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 12 cents to $3.33 per 1,000 cubic feet, its second day of strong gains after starting the year with a decline of about 7 percent.

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Pamela Sampson in Bangkok and Pablo Gorondi contributed to this report.


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