Oil increases on manufacturing data

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Tokyo - Oil prices rose in Asian trade on Tuesday on strong manufacturing data from top global energy guzzlers China and the United States, analysts said.

The US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in July, gained four cents to $102.51 a barrel while Brent North Sea crude for July was up nine cents to $108.92 in mid-morning trading.

Analysts said oil prices were tracking gains on Wall Street on Monday after the Institute of Supply Management said its purchasing managers index of US manufacturing activity rose in May to 55.4 from 54.9 in April.

China's official purchasing managers index (PMI) of manufacturing activity reached 50.8 in May, the government said on Sunday, a five-month high, up from 50.4 in March.

PMI data is a closely watched indicator of the health of a country's economy, and a reading above 50 indicates growth.

“The oil market at the moment is focused on the manufacturing data out of the US and China,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, told AFP.

“But we are seeing some of the risk premium associated with Ukraine coming off as the crisis continues to drag on with new developments having little impact,” McCarthy said. “That is dampening any upside factor on oil.”

Government forces and pro-Russian insurgents have been embroiled in skirmishes for weeks in eastern Ukraine, but the fighting has so far not expanded into a full-fledged civil war in the ex-Soviet state.

The West has accused Russia of fomenting unrest in its neighbour since the ousting of pro-Kremlin president Viktor Yanukovich in February. Moscow denies the allegation.

Investors fear a full-blown conflict in Ukraine, a conduit for a quarter of European gas imports from Russia, will disrupt supplies and send energy prices soaring. - AFP


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