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Oil prices rise after China reports slight growth improvement in Q2

Oil prices rose Wednesday after China reported a slight improvement in economic growth for the second quarter that allayed fears its slowdown was continuing.

Benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery was up 62 cents at US$100.58 a barrel at 0720 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 95 cents to US$99.96 on Tuesday.

Prices have fallen in recent weeks as Libya neared an increase in production and after worries about supply disruptions from Iraq faded. But stronger economic growth in China, the world's top oil importer, could increase its demand for crude.

China's growth rose to 7.5 percent in the April-June quarter from 7.4 percent in the first quarter, suggesting that the government's mini-stimulus measures had a positive effect.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, gained 41 cents to US$107.29 on the ICE exchange in London.

In other Nymex trading:

- Wholesale gasoline added 1.2 cents to US$2.88 a gallon.

- Natural gas gained 0.5 cent to US$4.102 per 1,000 cubic feet.

- Heating oil rose 0.5 cent to US$2.874 a gallon.

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