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Oil prices brush off Chinese woes in wake of Nice attack

Chinese government reported "complicated domestic" conditions created economic troubles.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Oil moved slightly higher in the wake of recent attacks in Paris after falling sharply in overnight trading Friday sparked by reports of stagnation in the Chinese economy. File photo by Monika Graff/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/3bb180d062fd71ae65762025af4d07ff/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Oil moved slightly higher in the wake of recent attacks in Paris after falling sharply in overnight trading Friday sparked by reports of stagnation in the Chinese economy. File photo by Monika Graff/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, July 15 (UPI) -- European economic and security concerns pushed crude oil prices higher early Friday after overnight losses brought on by weakness in China.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls called for a state of national mourning after what's being described as a terrorist attack on Bastille Day left 84 people dead. There have been no claims of responsibility after a lorry driver rammed his vehicle into a crowd on a main street in Nice. The driver also fired on the crowd along a 1.3 mile parade route before being shot dead by police.

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The attack follows the November coordinated siege on Paris claimed by the group calling itself the Islamic State and comes at a time when the French economy is coping with what the International Monetary Fund described as "lackluster" employment prospects.

The price for Brent crude oil moved up 0.6 percent early Friday to $47.64 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark price for oil, gained 0.4 percent from the previous close to start the trading day in New York at $45.87 per barrel.

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Oil has been volatile this week, moving in fits and starts in response to energy sector activity and economic data. The rally Friday was supported further by a declaration from Exxon Mobile that it couldn't honor its contractual commitments in Nigeria, which according to Bloomberg News may be a response to militant activity in the Niger Delta.

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Meanwhile, Eurostat, the European Union's data-gathering office, reported inflation in EU was flat in June, up from a negative 0.1 percent rate in May, but down from the 0.1 percent increase recorded in June last year.

Oil prices moved in negative territory in overnight trading after the National Bureau of Statistics of China reported that "complicated domestic and external conditions" meant the country struggled with mounting economy pressure during the first half of the year.

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Chinese growth concerns pushed oil prices and global stock markets sharply lower to start 2016. Last month, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told lawmakers that factors like China's stagnation and concerns about slow productivity growth were creating "headwinds" for future U.S. economic growth.

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