U.S. oil edges down, Brent crude rises

NEW YORK, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices ended mixed on Monday, following an upbeat week.

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for March delivery dropped 2 cents, or 0.02 percent, to settle at 81.62 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for March delivery rose 56 cents, or 0.64 percent, to settle at 88.19 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange, marking the highest front-month finish since late November.

"Oil markets test new highs as traders stay focused on China," Vladimir Zernov, market analyst with market information supplier FX Empire, said on Monday.

"Recent data suggests that demand for travel in China is rising at a robust pace," he added.

For the week ending Friday, the WTI climbed 1.8 percent, and Brent advanced 2.8 percent.

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