UPDATE 7-Oil prices little changed on China, U.S. data
* China Q2 GDP growth slows to 7.5 pct
* China's implied oil demand rises nearly 10 pct in June
* U.S. retail sales rise less than expected in June
* Speculators increased net long positions in Brent crude oil futures - ICE
(Updates prices, changes byline, dateline, pvs LONDON)
NEW YORK, July 15 (Reuters) - Brent crude held steady on Monday in choppy trading, paring earlier losses as the market digested mixed data from the United States and China, the world's top two oil consumers.
China's annual GDP growth slowed to 7.5 percent in the second quarter of 2013, the ninth quarter in the last 10 that the rate has fallen, official data showed Monday. However, China's implied oil demand rebounded in June to the highest in four months as refineries returned from maintenance.
In the United States, data showed retail sales rose less than expected in June, adding to signs of a slowdown in economic growth, while a separate report showed the New York Fed's "Empire State" general business conditions index rose, indicating expansion in the region's factories.
"We were lower earlier on the disappointing news out of China, but the market's made substantial gains in the last couple of weeks and it's priced in the three main drivers for the time being," said Gene McGillian, an analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.
"The Fed isn't going to be stepping back on stimulus, there was a 20 million barrel drop in crude oil stocks in the U.S., and events in Egypt are calming down. Now it's a question of what force is going to come in and drive prices higher?"
Brent crude front-month rose 4 cents to $108.87 a barrel by 11:48 EDT (1548 GMT) after earlier falling below $108 a barrel. The August contract expires on Tuesday.
U.S. oil was down 15 cents at $105.80 a barrel after sliding below $105 a barrel immediately after the data came out.
Both Brent and U.S. crude have rallied throughout July as U.S. demand appeared to strengthen during the summer driving season, just as production glitches and tensions in Egypt raised doubts about the reliability of international supply.
Analysts attributed some of the rally to seasonal mismatches.
In a note from Citi Research, analysts wrote, "The crude market is currently trading the peak of refinery throughput and the seasonal trough of North Sea loadings. In other words, this may be the most bullish point of the year for global crude markets."
Until Thursday, U.S. crude had been outperforming Brent for nine of 10 sessions, narrowing Brent's premium to U.S. crude <CL-LCO1=R> to a 2-1/2 year-low of $1.32 on Thursday. It has since widened out to around $3.
Dow Jones newswires, citing unnamed sources, reported Monday that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries could cut its 30 million barrel-per-day (bpd) production by 500,000 bpd in December, which traders said also may have bumped Brent a bit.
"That may have had a little impact on Brent crude, but it's a long time until December, and OPEC will often send out trial balloons by unnamed sources and see how the market reacts," said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.
(Additional reporting by Ron Bousso in London and Manash Goswami in Singapore; editing by Jane Baird, Keiron Henderson and Phil Berlowitz)