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Oil prices end higher on hope of stimulus

Associated Press Modified: September 10, 2012 at 3:17 pm •  Published: September 10, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil finished slightly higher Monday after a push-pull between bad economic news and expectations that central banks will intervene to boost growth.

Data released Monday showed China's imports shrank unexpectedly in August. China's president warned of a further slowdown and at one point drove benchmark oil fell by $1 per barrel. But the hope of stimulus action by the Federal Reserve on Thursday served as a safety net

Benchmark crude ended up 12 cents to $96.54 in New York. The price remains in a virtual stall — oil has traded between $94 per barrel and $97 per barrel for nearly a month.

China's oil imports fell about 13 percent in August from a year ago, according to Barclays. Factory output is now at a three-year low. A second report showed China's auto sales growth tumbled to below 4 percent last month, from 11 percent in July and 15 percent in June.

It's troubling news from the world's second-largest economy, especially when growth in the world's No. 1 economy — the U.S. — has also slowed.

On Friday, the U.S. government reported the economy added a weaker-than-expected 96,000 jobs last month, increasing the likelihood of another round of stimulus from the Fed.

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