Oil prices advance on stimulus hopes

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London - Global crude oil prices rose on Tuesday as weak manufacturing numbers from Europe and China lifted hopes of fresh central bank stimulus measures, analysts said.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in October added 54 cents to $116.32 a barrel at about midday.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for October won 68

cents to $97.15 per barrel, compared with Friday's closing level. US financial markets were closed on Monday for a public holiday.

Traders were hoping that the bleak European and Chinese manufacturing data would lead to more stimulus soon, said Nick Trevethan, senior commodities strategist for ANZ Research in Singapore.

“Certainly the data of late I think has been supportive of policy easing. China's in particular do suggest something needs to be done there,” he told AFP.

Chinese figures released Monday showed manufacturing activity in the world's largest energy consumer falling for a tenth consecutive month to its lowest level in more than three years in August.

The weak performance showed that previous stimulus measures enacted by the government were insufficient and more policy easing was needed, analysts said.

In Europe, survey data compiled by the Markit research firm and released on Monday showed eurozone manufacturing activity contracting for a seventh month in a row in August, with the fall sharper than initial forecasts.

The purchasing managers index (PMI), a survey of thousands of eurozone manufacturers, came in at 45.1 in August, down from a flash estimate of 45.3. Any score below the 50 mark indicates contraction.

All eyes are now on the European Central Bank's meeting on Thursday, with expectations mounting that its president Mario Draghi could unveil a bond-buying plan to boost debt-laden nations such as Italy and Spain. - Sapa-AFP


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