Friday, 8 January 2016

Oil prices move away from 12-year lows as China shares rise

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Oil prices rose more than 2 percent on Friday, following China shares higher after Beijing deactivated a circuit breaker mechanism that was blamed for aggravating equity market crashes, although a persistent global crude surplus kept a lid on gains.

Oil prices plunged to 12-year lows in the previous session after China allowed its yuan currency to slip, sending stock markets tumbling globally. Beijing then suspended equities trading as the sharp falls triggered the circuit-breaking mechanism for a second time since its introduction this week.

"As Chinese equity markets started to recover today, the oil prices rallied much altogether," said Kang Yoo-jin, commodities analyst at NH Investment and Securities based in Seoul.

Chinese stocks were boosted as the yuan currency firmed in early trade after the People's Bank of China strengthened its official rate for the first time in nine trading days.

Tracking this, Brent rose 58 cents to $34.33 a barrel by 0327 GMT, near an intraday high of $34.72. It was about $2 away from Thursday's $32.16, a level last seen in 2004.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was up 64 cents at $33.91 a barrel. In the prior session, it hit its lowest since late 2003 at $32.10.

While oil prices have bounced off lows, market participants remain unwilling to call an end to the slump.

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