* U.S. retail sales point to firmer consumer spending
* World Bank cuts growth outlook as advanced nations drag
* US crude stocks rise less than forecast -API
* Coming Up: U.S. EIA petroleum status report; 1530 GMT
By Manash Goswami
SINGAPORE, Jan 16 Brent crude rose towards $111
a barrel on Wednesday on hopes of a revival in demand growth in
the world's top oil consuming nation after U.S. retail sales
beat forecasts and oil inventories there rose far less than what
The solid 0.5 percent rise in December retail sales,
compared with expectations of only a 0.2-percent increase,
showed consumer resilience even in the face of automatic tax
increases and government spending cuts. That added to evidence
of a slow but steady recovery, and investors are now waiting for
more data to gauge the global growth outlook.
Brent futures gained 39 cents to $110.69 a barrel by
0339 GMT. The February contract, which expires later in the day,
settled $1.58 lower in the previous session, while the more
heavily traded March Brent contract ended down $1.32.
U.S. rose 30 cents to $93.58 a barrel.
Prices were also supported by data from the American
Petroleum Institute that showed crude stockpiles rose by 46,000
barrels in the week to Jan. 11, compared with expectations for a
2.3 million barrel rise.
"U.S. retail sales are important data, but not that
substantial to trigger a rally in oil prices," said Tetsu Emori,
a commodities fund manager at Astmax Investments in Tokyo. "The
market is looking for more positive factors to push prices
higher and till then prices will trade in a tight range."
Emori expects Brent to trade between $109 and $111 a barrel
and WTI between $92 and $94 until there is stronger evidence of
an improvement in the global outlook.
One such number is China's gross domestic product growth,
due on Friday, which is expected to show the country's annual
economic growth quickened to 7.8 percent in the fourth quarter,
according to a Reuters poll, snapping seven straight quarters of
"I think China's economy has bottomed out," Emori said. "The
downside risks to China have reduced and the economy is likely
to show signs of improving."
Other issues holding back oil prices include concerns over a
lack of agreement on the U.S. debt ceiling, he said.
Gains were capped by the World Bank's latest global growth
outlook that said a frustratingly slow economic recovery in
developed nations is holding back the global economy.
The Bank cut its outlook for world growth in 2013,
forecasting global gross domestic product inching up 2.4 percent
this year, from 2.3 percent in 2012. In its last forecast in
June, the bank projected global growth would reach 3.0 percent
Brent is expected to test support at $109.64 per barrel,
with a good chance of breaking this level and falling to
$108.77, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.
U.S. oil is expected to retrace to $92.24.
(Reporting by Manash Goswami; Editing by Tom Hogue)