Oil above $97 as China manufacturing improves

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Associated Press

Posted on October 24, 2013 at 7:35 AM

Updated Thursday, Oct 24 at 7:36 AM

LONDON (AP) — Stronger Chinese manufacturing pushed the price of oil higher Thursday but gains were kept in check by plentiful supplies.

Benchmark U.S. crude for December delivery was up 41 cents at $97.27 a barrel by midday in Europe in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The contract fell $1.44 to $96.86 on Wednesday after the Energy Information Administration said U.S. oil inventories rose by 5.2 million barrels last week, a possible symptom of subdued demand and overproduction. The rise in stockpiles followed a 4 million barrel increase in the previous week.

The price of crude has fallen about 5 percent over the past week to its lowest levels since June. But it got a lift Thursday from a survey that showed China's manufacturing rose to a seven month high in October, suggesting continued momentum for the recovery in the world's second-biggest economy.

The preliminary version of HSBC's purchasing managers' index rose to 50.9 from September's 50.2 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 indicate expansion.

Output, new orders and new export orders all increased at a faster rate, according to the survey, which is based on 85-90 percent of responses from 420 factories.

Brent crude was up 17 cents at $107.97 a barrel on the ICE futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline added 0.8 cents to $2.551 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 3.6 cents to $3.583 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil shed 0.5 cents to $2.919 a gallon.

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