Oil prices gained in Asia today as traders welcomed data indicating a continued economic pick-up in China, the world’s largest energy consumer, analysts said.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in January, climbed 29 cents to $86.22 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for January delivery added 39 cents to $107.41.

“Oil is up, it’s really reacting to the positive economic news out of China,” said Victor Shum, managing director for downstream energy consulting at IHS Inc.

“It looks like China has turned the corner and the economy is recovering with their latest manufacturing data,” he said.

The National Bureau of Statistics had yesterday released data showing production at China’s factories, workshops and mines rising 10.1 per cent year-on-year in November.

Also yesterday the statistics bureau said retail sales, China’s main gauge of consumer spending, rose 14.9 per cent year-on-year in November.

The result, an improvement from October’s gain of 9.6 per cent, has led to optimism that the worst of a slowdown in China — the world’s second biggest economy — may be over.

(This article was published on December 10, 2012)
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