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Markets

Oil rebounds on China demand outlook

LONDON : Brent crude gained on Wednesday after China said it would boost energy imports this year, though it held well
07 Mar 2012

 LONDON: Brent crude gained on Wednesday after China said it would boost energy imports this year, though it held well below a near four-year high set last week as Iran's offer for talks with major powers eased concerns about supply disruption.

China's trade ministry said it plans to boost energy imports in 2012, and will keep policies to ensure stable export growth, which it expects to improve in the second half of the year.

Front-month Brent gained 84 cents to $122.82 a barrel by 0913 GMT, after settling $1.82 lower at $121.98 in the previous session.

It was well below a high above $128 per barrel set last week, a level last hit in July 2008.

US oil increased by 48 cents to $105.18 after settling $2.02 lower at $104.70.

President Barack Obama said an announcement of six-power talks with Iran offered a diplomatic chance to defuse a crisis over its nuclear programme and quiet the "drums of war".

"It was getting quite worrying but tensions have eased and it's looking more like both sides could come out of this without losing face," said David Morrison, market analyst at GFT.

However, geopolitical risks remain a key focus for investors with France's Foreign Minister Alain Juppe saying on Wednesday he was sceptical the talks would succeed as Tehran was still not sincere in its willingness to negotiate over the future of its nuclear programme.

"Iran has not disappeared. In my mind, they will probably stall for time ... and the issue will last for the rest of the year," said Tony Nunan, a risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp.

Copyright Reuters, 2012