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Oil prices up on stronger Chinese data, Middle East conflict By Reuters

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By Katya Golubkova

TOKYO (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Friday, continuing upwards trend on the signs of improving economy in China and as negotiations to halt hostilities in the stand-off between Israel and Hamas yielded no results.

futures rose 37 cents, or 0.4%, to $84.24 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude grew 41 cents, or 0.5%, to $79.64 at 0003 GMT.

In the previous session, oil prices edged up to a one-week high on data of rising imports in China in April and as investors saw the cooling U.S. job market as an indication of possible interest rate cuts.

China’s exports and imports returned to growth in April after contracting in the previous month, signalling an improvement in demand.

“Ongoing signs of strength in demand in China should see commodity market remain well supported,” ANZ Research said in a note.

In the U.S., there is considerable uncertainty about where inflation will head in coming months, San Francisco Federal Reserve President Mary Daly said on Thursday, while adding she still has faith that price pressures are continuing to ease.

Daly did not say if she felt the U.S. central bank was likely or not to cut interest rates this year. Financial markets expect the U.S. central bank to start its easing cycle in September.

Israeli forces bombarded areas of Rafah on Thursday, Palestinian residents said, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed U.S. President Joe Biden’s threat to withhold weapons from Israel if it assaults the southern Gaza city.

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A senior Israeli official said late on Thursday that the latest round of indirect negotiations in Cairo to halt hostilities in Gaza had ended and Israel would proceed with its operation in Rafah and other parts of the Gaza Strip as planned.



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