Oil prices buoyed by China's steady but modest manufacturing growth

Oil prices rose Monday as China's manufacturing growth held steady at a modest pace in November.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was up 44 cents to $110.13 a barrel at midafternoon Kuala Lumpur time on the ICE futures exchange in London.

Benchmark U.S. crude for January delivery added 48 cents to $93.34 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 41 cents to close at $93.68 on Friday.

Chinese manufacturing barely expanded in November, growing at about the same rate as the previous month, two surveys showed in evidence that growth in the world's No. 2 economy was continuing but at a modest pace.

HSBC's purchasing managers' index released Monday slipped to 50.8 from 50.9 in October. Although November's reading was little changed, HSBC said it was the second-highest level in eight months, indicating China's massive manufacturing industries are improving, though marginally.

The report comes a day after an official survey that found manufacturing activity was unchanged.

China's leaders are counting on a continuing recovery to avoid the need for further stimulus. China's economic growth rose to 7.8 percent in the third quarter after slumping to a two-decade low of 7.5 percent in the previous three months.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline added 1.3 cents to $2.676 a gallon.

— Heating oil rose 1.3 cents to $3.04 a gallon.

— Natural gas shed 2.4 cents to $3.93 per 1,000 cubic feet.