Oil prices retreat in thin trade, but China outlook offers support

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Heilongjiang, Jan. 23 (BNA): Oil prices drifted lower in early trade on Monday, thinned by the Lunar New Year holiday in east Asia, but held on to most of last week's gains on the prospect of an economic recovery in top oil importer China this year.


Brent crude was down 11 cents, or 0.1%, to $87.52 at 0731 GMT, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) U.S. crude fell 8 cents, or 0.1%, to $81.56 a barrel, Reuters reported.


Last week Brent rose 2.8%, while the U.S. benchmark logged a 1.8% gain.


Analysts said that optimism regarding China's reopening will likely drive oil prices higher.