Singapore — Oil prices were steady on Wednesday on the hope that increased Chinese spending would stem an economic slowdown that is showing signs of spreading and has been weighing on financial markets. International Brent crude oil futures were at $61.49 a barrel at 3.14am GMT, virtually unchanged from their last close. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $52.98 a barrel, 3c below their last settlement. The steadier prices followed a 2% fall in crude futures and a slump in international financial markets on Tuesday as concerns over global growth spooked investors into looking for safe-haven assets such as government bonds or gold. Japan on Wednesday reported that its December 2018 exports fell by 3.8%, the most in more than two years, dragged down by plummeting shipments to China and wider Asia as weak global demand and US-China trade frictions take their toll on the trade-reliant economy. A widespread economic slowdown is expected to also dent growth in demand f...

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