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Oil prices mixed; WTI gains after strong US growth figures

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Oil prices were mixed on Monday with WTI rising on the back of strong US economic growth figures, while Brent began the week trading lower after posting its first weekly gain in four.

[TOKYO] Oil prices were mixed on Monday with WTI rising on the back of strong US economic growth figures, while Brent began the week trading lower after posting its first weekly gain in four.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 22 cents, or 0.3 per cent, at US$68.91 a barrel by 0058 GMT. WTI fell 1.3 per cent on Friday, marking a fourth week of declines.

Brent crude futures fell 11 cents, or 0.2 per cent, to US$74.18 a barrel, after notching up a 1.7 per cent weekly increase last week, the first gain in four weeks.

The US economy grew at its fastest pace in nearly four years in the second quarter as consumers boosted spending and farmers rushed shipments of soybeans to China to beat retaliatory trade tariffs before they took effect in early July.

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Clouding the picture, though, was data released on Friday that showed US energy companies added three oil rigs in the week to July 27, the first time in the past three weeks that drillers have increased activity.

Hedge funds trimmed their bullish wagers on US crude for the second week in a row to the lowest in nearly a month, data also showed on Friday, as oil prices remained volatile amid trade tensions and geopolitical risks.

The speculator group cut its combined futures and options position in New York and London by 11,362 contracts to 412,289 in the week to July 24, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission said. That was the lowest level since late June, the data showed 2.4 per cent.

REUTERS