October 8, 2018 / 3:57 AM / 8 days ago

UPDATE 7-Oil slips but bounces off low on hopes for China stimulus

(Updates prices, market activity, adds commentary)

By Collin Eaton

HOUSTON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Oil prices fell on Monday but pared losses along with the U.S. stock market as investors bet that China's economic stimulus steps on Sunday would be sufficient to boost the world's No. 2 economy and bolster its crude demand.

Global benchmark Brent crude slid below $83 per barrel early in the session, partly on concerns the U.S.-China trade war could weaken crude demand in China.

But prices bounced off session lows as investors bet that Sunday's move by China's central bank to slash lenders' reserve requirements would spur economic growth, analysts said.

"Everytime China cuts interest rates, they increase oil consumption," said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. "Cooler heads are prevailing."

Brent crude hit a session low of $82.66 and then bounced back to trade just 48 cents lower at $83.68 per barrel at 11:26 EDT (1526 GMT). Brent hit a four-year high of $86.74 last week.

U.S. crude was down 32 cents at 74.02 per barrel, off its session low of $73.07.

Oil traders initially reacted to a selloff in Chinese stocks, but as the U.S. stock market opened higher, "we've pulled back dramatically," said Mark Anderle, an energy trader at TAC Energy.

Also pressuring oil below $83 a barrel in early trade were reports that some Iranian oil exports will keep flowing after the U.S. re-imposes sanctions. Two companies in India have ordered Iranian barrels in November, India's oil minister said on Monday.

The Trump administration is considering waivers on sanctions, a U.S. government official said on Friday. Washington had been pressuring governments and companies worldwide to cut imports of Iranian oil to zero under U.S. sanctions that take effect Nov. 4.

Last week, Saudi Arabia announced plans to lift crude output next month to 10.7 million barrels per day (bpd), the Kingdom's highest level ever.

On Monday, Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said a claim by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that the Kingdom could replace Iran's crude exports was "nonsense."

"Iran's oil cannot be replaced by Saudi Arabia nor any other country," Zanganeh said, according to his ministry's website.

U.S. market participants also reacted to a bullish report by market intelligence firm Genscape showing crude inventories recently fell at the U.S. storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, analysts said.

"People think it's an opportunity to take more exposure," said Michael Corcelli, chief investment officer at Alexander Alternative Capital LLC in Miami. (Additional reporting by Henning Gloystein and Alex Lawler; Editing by David Gregorio)

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