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Oil prices kicked off the week higher, helped by data indicating China’s appetite for crude oil remains strong and a further fall in U.S. drilling activity.

Upbeat comments about global demand for crude by officials from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries also boosted sentiment.

Oil prices remain about half of what they were just over a year ago, however, as the global supply of crude continues to exceed demand. A string of weaker economic data out of China, the world’s second biggest oil consumer, has spooked investors in recent months and further depressed prices.

Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, rose 0.7% to $47.75 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading up 0.4% at $44.49 a barrel.

OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla Salem el-Badri said Monday that global crude oil markets are expected to be more balanced next year as demand continues to grow

“We see global oil demand maintaining its recent healthy growth,” Mr. Badri said.

China, one of the world’s biggest oil demand drivers, reported Sunday that its October crude imports dropped 5.7% from a month earlier but were up 9.4% from a year earlier. The strong annual import growth largely reflects crude inventory buildup and high refinery activity taking advantage of the low prices, analysts said.

“These figures show no evidence of any weakening of Chinese oil demand,” Commerzbank said in a note.

But overall imports in October saw a sharper-than-expected 18.8% fall from a year earlier, extending the 20.4% on-year decrease seen in September, adding to signs of a slowdown in the world’s second biggest economy.

Oil prices also found support from the latest decline in the number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. On Friday, industry group Baker Hughes reported that the rig count, which is seen as a rough proxy for activity in the industry, declined for the 10th consecutive week, dropping by six to 572 in the latest week.

“The rig count in the U.S. has collapsed…and U.S. oil production will continue to drop going forward,” said Torbjorn Kjus, an oil analyst at DNB Markets. He estimates that U.S. oil output will turn negative in the first quarter of 2016, dragged by a decline in the shale oil industry.

According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. production peaked in April at 9.6 million barrels a day and has dropped to below 9.2 million barrels a day since.

Despite the slowdown in U.S. output, the global crude market remains oversupplied. Barclays pegs the current surplus at 0.7 million barrels a day, adding that this should restrict the upside for prices over the fourth quarter.

The bank expects Brent to average $53 a barrel in the fourth quarter while WTI is expected it to average $50 a barrel.

Nymex reformulated gasoline blendstock–the benchmark gasoline contract–rose 0.5% to $1.38 a gallon. ICE gasoil changed hands at $456 a metric ton, up $3.25 from the previous settlement.