BANGKOK – 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 65 cents at $97.51 a barrel at midafternoon Bangkok time 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 31 cents at $108.11 a barrel on the ICE futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:
— Wholesale gasoline added 1 cent to $2.553 a gallon.
— Natural gas fell 1.1 cents to $3.608 per 1,000 cubic feet.
— Heating oil shed 0.7 cent to $2.929 a gallon.