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Oil Prices Inch Higher Amid Supply Risks

Oil prices rose slightly on Friday as the Tropical Storm Barry continued to slowly track north toward the Gulf Coast, forcing U.S. oil producers in the Gulf of Mexico to cut more than half their output, or 53 percent of the region's production.

It is expected to make landfall along the Louisiana coast line sometime late Friday or early Saturday morning.

Benchmark Brent crude rose 0.4 percent to $66.78 per barrel after declining 0.7 percent on Thursday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 0.2 percent at $60.30 a barrel.

Simmering Middle East tensions and reassuring export data from China also supported the market.

Britain will soon be "slapped in the face" for "daring" to capture an oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar, a senior Iranian cleric told worshippers during his Friday prayer sermon in Tehran.

The Grace 1 tanker was seized last week after it was suspected of taking crude oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions.

China's exports fell 1.3 percent on a yearly basis in June, official data showed today, coming in slightly slower than the 1.4 percent drop economists had forecast. At the same time, imports slid 7.3 percent annually versus the expected fall of 4.6 percent in June.

Elsewhere, Eurozone industrial production rebounded at a faster than expected pace in May, largely driven by consumer goods output, figures from Eurostat revealed.

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