• Oil rises as China, Europe factories ramp up
     | August 23,2013

    NEW YORK ó Oil had its first gain of the week Thursday, driven by a rebound in manufacturing in China and Europe.

    Benchmark oil for October delivery rose $1.18 to close at $105.03 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

    Oil fell $3.61 a barrel, or 3.6 percent, over the first three days of the week mostly due to expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will start phasing out its monetary stimulus, possibly starting next month. The manufacturing data overrode those concerns, at least for a day.

    The eurozoneís purchasing managersí index, a key gauge of growth in both the manufacturing and services sectors, rose to 51.7 points in August from 50.4 in July, according to financial information company Markit. It was the highest reading since June 2011 and supported expectations that the eurozoneís recovery from recession is gaining momentum.

    As for China, HSBC Corp. said the preliminary version of its monthly purchasing managers index for Chinese manufacturing rose to 50.1 for August, a sharp improvement from Julyís figure of 47.7.

    Meanwhile, drivers in most parts of the U.S. continue to pay less at the gas station than a year ago. The nationwide average for a gallon of gasoline held steady at $3.54. Thatís down 19 cents from this time last year.

    Prices are higher in some Mountain States such as Wyoming (up 12 cents) and Idaho (up 16 cents), but drivers are paying more than 30 cents less in states such as Illinois (down 36 cents) and Wisconsin (down 34 cents).

    Elsewhere, Brent crude, which sets prices for imported oil used by many U.S. refineries, rose 9 cents to $109.90 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

    In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

    Heating oil slipped 1 cent to $3.07 per gallon.

    Natural gas rose 9 cents to $3.55 per 1,000 cubic feet.

    Wholesale gasoline gained 3 cents to $2.96 per gallon.

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