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Corrected: Oil tops $73 on equity rebound, U.S. demand

11:24am EDT
Corrects sixth paragraph to show oil had its biggest one-day percentage on Wednesdy in nearly eight months, instead of three months
By Ikuko Kurahone
LONDON (Reuters) – Crude oil prices rose above $73 on Thursday, supported by gains in Asian and European equity markets and after the previous day’s U.S. official oil data showed an increase in fuel demand.
By 1321 GMT, U.S. crude futures for July was up $1.52 at $73.03 a barrel. ICE Brent crude futures gained $1.37 to $73.11.
U.S. crude fell from $73.67 hit earlier after the release of data showing the U.S. economy grew at a slower pace than previously estimated in the first quarter as business investment slackened.
U.S. gross domestic product expanded at a 3.0 percent annual rate, the Commerce Department said, instead of the 3.2 percent pace it reported last month.
“Macro economic data is absolutely the most important, also confidence in the recovery is reflected in prices for equities,” Christopher Bellew with Bache Commodities said. “Today, U.S. demand does still play a part.”
On Wednesday U.S. crude rose 4 percent, its biggest one-day percentage gain in nearly eight months, after data from the Energy Information Administration showed an increases in U.S. demand for refined oil products such as gasoline and diesel.
U.S. crude rose to a premium to ICE Brent crude for the first time since mid-April. It fell to a discount as deep as $6.57 in mid-May due to a build-up in inventories at storage in Cushing, Oklahoma.
Crude was also helped higher after Wednesday’s data showed inventories at Cushing, the physical delivery point of U.S. crude, fell from record high levels.
Barclays Capital analyst Paul Horsnell noted the rise in U.S. diesel demand in the weekly report. As diesel is used for large trucks, its demand is often used as a gauge of the health of economic activity.
Asian and European shares rose on Thursday mainly because China denied a report it was reviewing its investments in euro zone debt.
(Additional reporting by Alejandro Barbajosa in Singapore; Editing by Sue Thomas)

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