Oil pares loss on upbeat U.S. consumer data

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Oil pared losses and seesawed near flat on Friday as an unexpectedly strong U.S. consumer sentiment reading helped counter weak Chinese industrial growth data.

Even with the recovery from lows, Brent crude remained on track to post a small weekly loss, with U.S. crude headed for a weekly drop of nearly 2 percent.

U.S. consumer sentiment rose early this month to its highest in more than four years, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary May reading showed, helping stem oil's losses.

The consumer data boosted Wall Street, and the stock market's buoyancy despite news of JPMorgan Chase & Co's trading loss of at least $2 billion also was supportive to oil, brokers and traders said.

Earlier, crude prices felt pressure from news that China's industrial production in April grew at its slowest pace in nearly three years.

That report followed disappointing trade numbers released on Thursday, indicating China's economy is showing vulnerability to a global slowdown.

Brent June crude was flat at $112.73 a barrel by 11:14 a.m. EDT (1511 GMT), after falling to $111.40. Brent must rally above $113.18 to avoid a weekly loss.

U.S. June crude also was unchanged, at $97.08, having fallen to $95.61 before recovering back above the 200-day moving average of $96.27.

(Additional reporting by Zaida Espana, Manolo Serapio Jr, Randy Fabi and Manash Goswami; Editing by David Gregorio)



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