Oil rises above $93 in European trade

Monday, June 3rd, 2013 | Finance News

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil rose above $93 a barrel on Monday at the start of a week that is jam-packed with economic data, culminating in Friday's U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for May.

By afternoon in New York, benchmark oil for July delivery was up $1.41 at $93.38 a barrel. On Friday, the Nymex contact fell $1.64 to close at $91.97.

Oil prices are pressured by a weak economic outlook around the world. Faltering economies demand less gasoline, diesel and fuel from drivers, shippers and industries. Hopes about the strength of the U.S. economy have helped support prices, despite mixed signals from China and Europe — the other two big pillars of the global economy.

Lately some poor U.S. economic indicators have actually prompted some buying of oil, because the weaker the economy the less likely the Federal Reserve is to begin lifting the stimulus measures it has in place.

Monday presented traders with mixed economic reports. A measure of U.S. manufacturing fell in May to its lowest level since June 2009. But most automakers posted strong sales for May, which could give a boost to sluggish gasoline demand.

Conflicting Chinese figures left investors uncertain over the state of the world's second largest economy. Though the official manufacturing purchasing managers index, a gauge of activity, rose to 50.8 in May from 50.6 the previous month, an equivalent survey from HSBC fell to 49.2 from 50.4. Anything above 50 indicates expansion.

However, a survey for the 17 European Union countries that use the euro offered some hope for the future of the eurozone economy. The monthly manufacturing PMI from financial information company Markit rose to 48.3 points in May from the initial estimate of 47.8.

Brent crude, a benchmark for pricing oil used by many U.S. refineries to make gasoline, was up $1.84 to $102.23 in on the ICE Futures exchange in London on Monday.

Pump prices in the U.S. remained at $3.62 a gallon. That's down 1 cent from a week ago, but 3 cents higher than at this time last year.

In other energy futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange:

— Wholesale gasoline added 5 cents to $2.80 a gallon.

— Heating oil rose 6 cents to $2.84 per gallon.

— Natural gas advanced 1 cent to $3.99 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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Pablo Gorondi in Budapest and Pamela Sampson in Bangkok contributed to this report.

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