Oil switched between narrow gains and losses in London, fluctuating with wider markets after China began a gradual roll-out of measures to aid its economy.

Brent futures added 0.4% to trade near $76, after earlier edging lower. While China reduced lending rates on Tuesday, its gradual roll-out of broader measures for its ailing economy is fueling a debate among traders over how far authorities will go to aid growth. The nation is the top crude importer.

Oil has struggled for direction in recent weeks. A flood of supply from Russia and Iran has kept availability of crude elevated. Last month China imported a record volume of oil from Russia and the cargo-transfer hub of Malaysia.

Coupled with slowing global growth as central banks hike rates to quell too-hot inflation, prices have generally been pressured this year. To try to arrest the drop, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies have scaled back production.

“Worries about the Chinese growth are tangible,” said Tamas Varga, an analyst at brokerage PVM Oil Associates Ltd. “Unless concrete signs of global stock depletion emerge, the market is likely to stay stuck in its current range.”

Supplies from the Middle East were also in focus. Iraqi and Turkish officials had been due on Monday to discuss a possible resumption of piped Iraqi oil flows through to the port of Ceyhan. The conduit can carry 500,000 barrels a day.

  • Brent for August settlement added 0.6% to $76.56 a barrel.
  • WTI for August delivery traded at $71.78 a barrel at 9:39 a.m. in London, 0.2% below Friday’s close.
    • July WTI expires Tuesday; there was no settle on Monday due to a US holiday

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